29 November 2007

minimix: Shuffleupagus.4

Letting ye olde algorithm choose the mix again this week, with the one caveat being that I've restricted the choices to music released or recorded during 2007. So here's a random -- literally and figuratively -- mix of this year's infinite crop of tunes, including a couple live tracks of varying sound quality (two performed within a day of each other, interestingly enough). Enjoy... I hope!

Download the mix

01 Can't Leave Her Behind -- Stephen Malkmus & Lee Ranaldo: I'm Not There
02 Welcome, Ghosts -- Explosions In The Sky: All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone
03 All This Time -- Heartless Bastards: Atlanta 9 June 2007
04 Wet and Rusting -- Menomena: San Francisco 8 June 2007
05 Underwater (You and Me) -- Clap Your Hands Say Yeah: Some Loud Thunder
06 Firecracker -- Steel Train: Daytrotter Session

Previously in minimix:

More 2007 Hits
Americana Is Beautiful.2 Relatively New
Jazzercise.4 (07)
even more new music
more new music
Comes Alive Vol. 2
Old & New

Links of the Week

Before getting to the links, a quickie movie review:

Caught "No Country for Old Men" over the holiday weekend. Wow, now that's a movie! Move over Ratatouille, we have a new best-of-2007 here at OTW. I haven't read the book and I'm not sure I want to now. I'm a firm believer in Roger Ebert's movie dictum "It's not what the movie's about, it's how it's about what it's about" or something to that effect and the Coen Brothers (w/ a capital B) effort may be the best illustration of that. There were several shots early in the film while I was still getting my footing with the story that just blew me away. One was taken from an almost armadillo-eyed view of asphalt twisting through the vast, barely-touched West Texas terrain -- you can practically feel the hot, rough texture of the road surface through the screen. Later, our "hero" comes upon a dead man propped up against a tree and as the camera pans it catches this fellow's cowboy boots and how their soles are so worn that there are holes through which you can see the wilderness in hyperfocus right through them. It's a small detail, but the kind of thing that brilliantly tells so much more than 3 pages of expository dialog. Finally, early in the film, someone is killed by strangulation and struggles for a realistically long time on the floor, his boots thrashing wildly. After the deed we see the pattern left on the floor by his scuff marks, a history of the struggle, the footprint of a murder. These add up along the way, and I shudder to think of my second, third and 10th viewing... what else did I miss? The resulting movie isn't just a sum of these scenes, but rather something heavier -- multiplication or more, the story is told through the genius visuals, the fully-developed characters which surprise us in their realism and of course plenty of Coen humor, blood, guts, a satchel full of drug money. I've loved almost every Coen Brother movie since my family went to see Raising Arizona and I fell in love. This is their best movie.

I won't spoil any of the fun or the utterly satisfyingly unsatisfying denoument of the chase, but I will say this: The theater was packed -- we sat in the 3rd or 4th room, the closest I've been to the screen since going to see the 2nd Lethal Weapon movie. When the screen went to black at the end there was a gasp of disapproval the likes of which I've never heard at the theater before. The near-hissing actually made me laugh a little bit. Not that I blame them, just too bad they didn't get as much enjoyment out of it as I did. Anyway, I was chatting about this as we made our way out of the theater and the (40-something) lady in front of me stopped when we reached the theater exit and came to me like we were buddies and said "That movie sucked" with such hilariously lathered spite that I almost lost it right then and there. People are funny.

On to the links:

Dat's all I got...

28 November 2007

Nedstalgia: 15 Years Ago

Poster images courtesy of Phish Poster archive

[Previously in Nedstalgia: Phish shows 1 & 2, #3 #5 #77 & 78, #79, #80&81); Mule; Widespread Panic #1 (& 'ween 97); The Duo; Robert Randolph HORDE 92 (i.e. Phish #4, WSP #1)]

More more more!

First, download some music:

Just a taste in last week's minimix or grab full chunks... dude, it's ALL good.

11/22/92: Cornell (all of it)
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

11/23/92: Binghamton (all I could find)

11/27/92: Port Chester (all of it)
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

11/28/92: Port Chester (all of it)
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Amazing to think about, but 15 years ago, in a matter of less than 10 months I saw Phish 9 times (I should say my 1st 9 times) within a 300 mile radius, 8 of these being in the state of New York, 5 within an hour and a half's drive of Syracuse. Amazing considering there were twelve (12!) other shows in the state that I missed but easily could have made if I really was a wooked-out freak. One of the shows I missed was an 11/20 hit in Albany @ the Palace Theater which coincided with my cousin's Bar Mitzvah weekend in Boston. The silver lining was that my parents were able to bring me a car (under the guise of me being able to drive myself home for Thanksgiving the following Thursday, w/ my poor brother having to find his own way to school for the half-week) which allowed me to ditch my family post-brunch and hightail it to Ithaca and Binghamton for a Sunday/Monday Phish jaunt. Thank Trey for semi-understanding parents!

This arrangement lead to some tricky timing. I had to stop at a friend's house in Cortland to pick up my Cornell-student-rate ticket ($10!) and then find my way to Bailey Hall in Ithaca with barely a minute to spare. Everything was going fine until I showed my youth and ignorance and just parked my car aimlessly in some parking garage without having any idea where the venue was in relation. How hard would it be to find? Well, I walked and I asked and I walked and asked and showtime approached and arrived and I was still walking and trying to find my way there... and then it started raining... then pouring and I was still walking and asking. Man, was I pissed. I finally made it to the show mid-1st-set, sopping wet and in none too good a mood.

I walked in during "Sparkle" but it felt like I was stepping directly onto a battlefield into the middle of an already heated firefight. You could hear the music outside and just feel the place pulsing with complete mania. I immediately bumped into my good friend who I was supposed to be meeting there who had this "I've been dancing my ass off for 45 minutes" crazed glare in his eyes and plenty of sweat on his shirt to match. I was bummed when he showed me the setlist thus far, but not that bummed... they proceeded to play 3 songs I hadn't heard live yet and after a while I adjusted to being inside a Phish show. The scene in Bailey Hall was total anarchy as I remember it. The room is essentially a large lecture hall, I believe that's where they hold the famously gargantuan Cornell Psych Intro course and it was bouncing wall to wall with twentysomething Phish fans and curious student/local/hippie types. The cold November rain outside met the thousand-body heat of the inside and created a thick steam which coupled with a steady cloud of smoke to create an intoxicating weight to the air. There was no order inside whatsoever. A taper held bay in his seat up near where we were in the balcony with a sign above his microphones that read "Kill Wilson" or something to that effect... the freaks had taken over the building.

Musically, I think I was too overwhelmed by the circumstances to truly enjoy everything on its merit. Thank God for the tapes, this is a good one that I haven't given much notice to in the past. But I do remember Trey explaining the Big Ball Jam and just thinking for the first time that maybe they were just throwing shit at the wall and seeing what would stick. When they busted out the balls mid-Tweezer, though, I had a smile on my face. My buddies had all come from the Albany show where they had ripped through Axilla and they were babbling about the pure shred of the new song, so I was happy when they opened the second set with that one. You Enjoy Myself was sublime, I was utterly taken with it, Trey played extended Eleanor Rigby teases at the beginning of the jam and while he did so, it seemed that he was shrouded singularly in his own white light... it was as if the lights were coming from his guitar and shining outward and everything else -- the rest of the band, the hepped-up crowd -- had disappeared. He was playing that to me. Good moment. Fishman came out and debuted "Faht" from the "new album" saying they wanted to call it "Windham Hell" but couldn't... fun to see how they recreated the special sound effects of the studio album on stage. Jonny B. played this roughed-up 4-string "guitar" like a misfit in a mental institution.

Walked out into the night post-show into a crazy swirling movie-set fog. I ran into a very good buddy from high school outside who had traveled from Philly to see the show... I had no idea he liked Phish (ended up not taking for too long as I recall) -- a total "wtf, this is getting big!" moment. My favorite anecdote from that night didn't even happen to me. A college friend tells the tale of post show being near the "stage door" and Fishman walking out with his dress still on, a gorgeous co-ed on each arm and his dingy "Faht" guitar in his hand. They just passed through the crowd and, as the story was told to me, disappeared in the Cornell fog. What an image!

Moving on, I can say that, for once, I have few memories of the Binghamton show the next night. Big Balls again, Vibration of Life (1st time they did that, I guess -- beats out the balls, barely), Mimi Fishman on vacuum, Mike Gordon pulling off "I Walk The Line" admirably. I tracked down some of this recording, but would love to get the whole thing, because it is blurry and there are very few Phish shows I don't remember distinctly. A far cry from 3/20, that's for sure.

Two that I do remember quite well happened post-Thanksgiving, truly 15 years ago today/yesterday in Port Chester. For the second time in a week I ditched my family for Phish, although I can say it is the only time I took Thanksgiving weekend to see music in lieu of leftover turkey and general couch lounging. My 1st two night run taken in with Oopy once again (3rd Nedstalgia appearance this month!).

Wow! Fucking awesome. Like a whole 'nother level of Phish show compared with the previous 7. These are two shows where you can just look at the setlists and know what kind of fun everyone had in there. Something about the two-show weekend run that just works on that different plane. The majority of the room is in it for the long haul and the band settles down with the crowd like it's breaking Thanksgiving bread with its family. Hampton might have been the mother of all 2-night stints, but for me it all started with this Port Chester hit. It was like 4 sets of a single-standing show, best exemplified by the Forbin/Mockingbird & Harpua narrations from each night. They were two of the best I've heard -- the audience shrank down, climbed up the drum set and jumped onto Fish's head, climbed into his ear, went to his brain and found Gamehendge. Brilliant. The best part was the next night during Harpua we were "back in Fish's brain" -- at this point it was just assumed that everyone was in on the secret and anyone who didn't get it or was lost wasn't going to have it dumbed down for them. Catch up or go home. I loved that. Also loved when the show came to a close the "see you all tomorrow night" -- right here, like there was no question.

All in all, these two were like the perfect Phish shows. The crowd energy was in a different place. Even the way the crowd gathered in the parking lot beforehand seemed to be something special. The sets were constructed like a two-day festival, everything arranged in its place with care, there was nothing haphazard about what was played and when. The first night was Jimi Hendrix's birthday -- it would have been his 50th -- and the band made it known early that he was on their minds. Rift > Wilson opened up and when they did the pause in Wilson, Trey announced the birthday to the crowd before finishing up with a fury and ripping into one of my all-time favorite versions of Divided Sky. He was channeling. Then, to lighten things up, bam! right into that magical Col Forbin's>Mockingbird.

Brilliant jamming, pyrotechnic guitar work -- Anastasio is as good as ever hear, download if you don't believe me, silly excursions to Lizard-land... what more could you ask for. Hendrix kept popping up, Fishman made mention before another version of Faht and the set closed with Trey vamping hard on multiple Jimi teases during Cavern... finally encoring with Page singing Bold As Love and Trey amping in pure fall-of-92 style. Listen to this show, you will hear a band that is in control like few others. Saturday night had a few more lulls, but was still as good as you were getting back then: Mike's to end the 1st set, wild and rare Man Who Stepped sandwich that wrapped around a Maze before coming back and Trey bringing his grandmother on stage for the encore, dedicating "Contact" (her favorite song) to her, dancing with her during the breakdown (quintessential "only Phish" moment) and then sending her off to lay down the nastiness of the Tweezer Reprise.
Those two shows felt big. The seeds of all the inside jokes -- the language, the Big Balls et al -- that had been planted over the course of my short Phish career had started to pop through the soil and show some signs of life. It was nearing the moment when I realized that my obsession wasn't an isolated incident -- it was a shared experience and maybe it was a bit bigger than just a rock band. Whatever... it was a lot of freakin' fun and I was going to get as much of it into my system as I could just in case. I bought a cool Phish/turkey t-shirt that was probably the best tour shirt I'd ever gotten...then promptly lost it by December, of course.

I've said enought... great weekend, front row style.

27 November 2007

Trailer: Juno

OK, there's no way this cannot be gleeping awesome, right?

25 November 2007

Shows of the Week

Somehow there's one week left in November... and it's teeming with high-end music options. Hope you've got room... what am I missing?

[Remember * = Ned's picks, # = new additions; if you or someone you know would like this listing in their inbox every week, go to groups.yahoo.com/group/nyc_sotw and click "join list."]


Click here for upcoming shows

*Benevento/Barba/Elmes @ Bar 4 (Brooklyn)
Seth Winters @ The Annex
Teena Marie @ BB King's
Dayna Kurtz @ Barbes (Brooklyn) (early)
Adam Rudolph/Organic Orchestra @ Roulette
Sondre Lerche @ Music Hall (Brooklyn)

Sondre Lerche @ Bowery Ballroom
*Eyal Maoz/Briggan Krauss/Ron Caswell @ Barbes (Brooklyn) (early)
Jean-Michel Pilc @ 55 Bar (late)
Lou Donaldson/Lonnie Smith @ Village Vanguard (early/late)
Adam Levy et al @ Rockwood Music Hall
Jaik Miller Band @ LUV 24/7

*Gram Parsons Tribute (w/ Ollabelle et al) @ Luna Lounge (Brooklyn)
Jessica Lurie Ensemble @ Banjo Jim's (late)
Lou Donaldson/Lonnie Smith @ Village Vanguard (early/late)
Sufjan Stevens et al @ Southpaw (Brooklyn)
The Head Set et al @ Mercury Lougne
Jethro Tull @ NJPAC (Newark)

*Robert Glasper @ Symphony Space
Tony Trischka @ Cutting Room (early)
Suzanne Vega, Teddy Thompson @ Manhattan Center
The Bridge, Jamie McLean, Afroskull @ Lion's Den
Lou Donaldson/Lonnie Smith @ Village Vanguard (early/late)
U-Melt @ Mulcahy's (Wantagh, LI)
SiSe @ SOB's
Alejandro Escovedo String Quartet @ Music Hall (brooklyn)
Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog, Doveman @ Knitting Factory (early)
Henry Butler NOLA All Stars @ Iridium (early/late)
Andy Statman @ Barbes (Brooklyn) (late)
Sondre Lerche @ Maxwell's (Hoboken)
Jam Master Jay tribute @ Hammerstein Ballroom
Donny McCaslin @ 55 Bar (late)

Ween @ Terminal 5
Cold War Kids @ Webster Hall
Lou Donaldson/Lonnie Smith @ Village Vanguard (early/late)
Henry Butler NOLA All Stars @ Iridium (early/late)
*Andrew Bird (Glenn Kotche opens) @ Beacon Theater
Brooklyn Boogaloo Blowout @ 55 Bar (late)
SiSe @ SOB's
Meowskers et al @ Union Hall (Brooklyn)
Grace Potter & The Nocturnals (Phonograph opens) @ Highline Ballroom
Amayo's Fu-Arkist-Ra @ Zebulon (Brooklyn)
The Breakfast @ Lion's Den
Leroy Justice @ Rockwood Music Hall (late night)
Sound of Urchin @ Mercury Lounge (late night)

Blind Boys of Alabama @ BB King's
Dar Williams @ Zankel Hall
*Ween @ Terminal 5
Lou Donaldson/Lonnie Smith @ Village Vanguard (early/late)
Liberty Ellman/Brandon Ross Quartet @ The Stone (early)
Henry Butler NOLA All Stars @ Iridium (early/late)
The Black Hollies et al @ Maxwell's (Hoboken)
Ra Ra Riot et al @ Union Hall (Brooklyn)

Henry Butler NOLA All Stars @ Iridium (early/late)
Jethro Tull @ Hammerstein Ballroom
Madlib & Peanut BUtter Wolf @ Highline Ballroom
*Dar Williams @ Southpaw (Brooklyn)
Lou Donaldson/Lonnie Smith @ Village Vanguard (early/late)
Marshall Tucker Band @ BB King's
Stephane Wrembel @ Barbes (Brooklyn) (late)

Click here for upcoming shows

21 November 2007

minimix: Phishtalgia.2 11/92

OTW is off the rest of the week, so I'm bringing you Friday's mix on Wednesday, ain't you lucky?

15 years ago this week, spent some time bouncing around portions of New York State with Phish. Here's a little sampler of those 4 shows, and I'll have more to say and full-strength sets and shows to download for those interested. (open request for 11/28/92, can't seem to find it)

Enjoy the tunes and your holiday...

Download the mix

01 Wilson > -- Capitol Theater, Port Chester, NY 27 Nov 1992
02 The Divided Sky -- Capitol Theater, Port Chester, NY 27 Nov 1992
03 Reba Phish -- Bailey Hall, Cornell, Ithaca, NY 22 Nov 1992
04 David Bowie -- Broome County Forum, Binghamton, NY 23 Nov 1992
05 You Enjoy Myself -- Bailey Hall, Cornell, Ithaca, NY 22 Nov 1992
06 Bold As Love Phish -- Capitol Theater, Port Chester, NY 27 Nov 1992

Previously in minimix:
Phishtalgia 1

Nedstalgia: 10 Years Ago

November is Nedstalgia month! Rejoice!

[Previously in Nedstalgia: Phish shows 1 & 2, #3 #5 #77 & 78, #79); Mule; Widespread Panic #1 (& 'ween 97); The Duo; Robert Randolph HORDE 92 (i.e. Phish #4, WSP #1)]

What is it that causes those wacky wormholes to open up in random corners of our musical universe? Places like Red Rocks in Colorado or the old Wetlands down in Tribeca are/weren't just places to see music but more like portals into another dimension. Places where the arrow of time points in all directions and the laws of physics seem to go to lunch. The Hampton Coliseum down in Virginia, of all places, seems to have such magical properties and it was 10 years ago today that I ventured down there for the honor to see Phish with a "P" for a couple of nights. This series of reminisces has been chock full of hyperbole and seems to have attached importance and significance to every bit of music I can remember, but those two nights were the cats meow... disregarding the 4 Halloween shows (i.e. the "Roads? Where we're going we don't need roads." of Phish shows), hands down the best Phish shows I went to.

There must be something in the water down there by the water. This is the area of the country that gave birth to both Allen Iverson and David Wright. Whatever it is, the electricity was in the air the moment me and the omnipresent wingman ABO left the tristate area and headed south. There was no doubt in my mind the moment I bought those tickets and made the decision to hit the shows that I would be in the front row and that's pretty much all I cared about heading down. While waiting to get our wait on, we found a nice spot to park the car and chill and soaked in the analog goodiness of one of those wild Amsterdam shows from on of that year's European jaunts. The music was pure pixie dust, magical otherworldly stuff. The anticipation couldn't have been any higher. I was too naive to consider overhyping it... or was I?

We waited in line all afternoon and chilled with some pretty good people. "Phish shows" to me were always all about "front row at a Phish show" and even that meant "front row Trey." It was a universe within a universe within a universe for me and one where I resided happily for many years. Needless to say, we made the spot both nights and fell in with a good bunch of dudes I'd be seeing the rest of my Phish days. There were always a bunch of regulars that rotated in and out as they got older or bored, but somehow I was always there ready to spin yarns about the "good old days" and probably bug the shit out of anyone within earshot. Tough noogies! There was a fantastic photo in the Hampton-area paper the next morning of Trey on stage with a slice of the crowd reacting to his playing... a bunch of us clearly were in the shot. Unfortunately I haven't been able to hang onto that in the ensuing decade, would love a copy of that.
Anyway, the music, right? I'm not even going to bother posting this to download. Either you have it and you know or you can find it easily to download, you don't need me to point you in the direction of pure epicosity. If someone can identify the consensus "it" source on these shows, please enlighten us. If you really want me to provide, I'm partial to kind requests.

When you're sitting around for hours and hours doing nothing but anticipating what is to come, your mind can wrap itself up in some wild hypotheticals. "What will they open with?" is PreShow 101, but all we could agree on was this: huge. I don't think anyone had "Emotional Rescue" in the pool, but could it have been any better? Just bringing it hard with a out-of-the-next-galaxy bustout and perfectly harness the energy in the room for the rest of the weekend. I've had this song in my head all week long in anticipation of this anniversary. Just so awesome, wasn't it? The one-two punch of Emotional Rescue > Split Open & Melt was plenty enough to carry the 1st set over a couple lulls. The way it balanced a silly Phishiness with of-the-era groove out and how the lyrical hook kept popping up later in the set... it all gave the weekend that "yes, we agree this is special, and we're going to do everything we can to make it so" seal from the band. That counts for something.

What ensued was one of those nights/shows/runs where setlist only told half the story, the way returning to our planet after an alien abduction and describing the experience can only do half the justice to the actual experience. All of us in that room those two nights boarded a space ship -- almost literally a flying saucer -- and we were probed: physically, mentally, emotionally.

The latter 3 sets of the Hampton 97 experience were just a blur -- children fingerpainting a messy concoction of color, mashing reds and greens and purples in seeming disorder until you step back and realize that they've outdone Picasso, Matisse and Pollock combined. Picking out individual songs or jams would be like isolating brush strokes. Good God, people, this was it! Yes, we were knee-deep in the so-called "cow funk" era of Phish, but this was not all bass-and-clavinet fueled groove jams. This was the polished sum of the spring and summer, the high point of an era of brilliant free-ranging improvisational playing that peaked the following Spring and will probably never be seen again. If you started listening to Phish after the fall of 1997, you missed it, you missed it all. I'm sorry. Songs twisted up into different balloon animal shapes; blocks of ice were carved into magnificent lifelike sculptures; eggs, flour and sugar were transformed into delicacies too sweet to contemplate; word butchered into ridiculous metaphors ad nauseum.

Highlights were many, I don't remember being upset with too much they played. It seemed to build from that Rolling Stones cover on night 1 and just kept going up and up and up. By the midpoint of Saturday's second set, I was gloriously overwhelmed. I had not heard Black Eyed Katy before that night and when the Tweezer melted into the fully-formed uber-funk jam I was convulsive. The next tune after that was "Piper" which I had also never heard before, not even on tape or CD. I will never forget that moment, a top 10'er for me. The way that funked up ultragroove took shape into something. It seemed to be happening in the moment, just notes self-assembling as if placed there by Mother Nature herself, forming an impossibly building melody. Simple, succinct, and totally engrossing, it just kept building and building. I was totally flabbergasted... when they finally crested and I realized that it was indeed a song they were playing, it ruined none of the magic. It was total discovery, 100% pure. It was a moment hard to come by back then and almost impossible now in the age of instantaneous satisfaction and gratification. I don't begrudge the immediate availability of new music, far from it, but the experience of getting knocked off your socks by something utterly new is becoming a rarity. I've heard plenty of Pipers since then and enjoyed most of them, but nothing will ever recreate that "holy shit" experience when my jaw hit bottom. You should be diggin' it while it's happening....

So put it all together: the tripped out, overheated audience; the intergalactic journey to parallel universes; the Mikes>Groove>Harry Hood Sat night starter special; the 15 minute jam-a-thons that could have gone 30 more ticks before I even thought about getting bored with them; the repeated climaxes of the AC/DC Bag on Friday; the way Trey taunted the audience when they tried chanting "Destiny Unbound;" the way in which the band combined the best of Iverson and Wright and performed at a level higher than even us heady veterans could have conceived of; the "aw fuck it, let's drive!" post-Saturday night haul back to the city which seemed to fly by effortlessly on the pure adrenaline of a Tweezer Reprise encore (best way to end a show evah!); the rail supporting everything I had while I thrashed about to Antelope and Izabella and Guyute and the climactic orgasm of Slave to the Traffic Light; Trey looping everything on top of each other to artistic effect so that Punch You In the Eye somehow dissolved cleanly into the faux-lounge of Lawn Boy without any jarring and the first set Prince Caspian never quite ended as the stage filled with sound and the entire room was in a deep dark slumbering spell until someone came out and shut off the blissful cacophony... put all that together and all the other shit that's slipped my memory and you have "best Phish ever."

Quod Erat Demonstratum.

18 November 2007

Shows of the Week

Happy Thanksgiving! Be thankful for the music, baby!

Click here for upcoming shows

*Tegan & Sara (Northern State opens) @ Webster Hall
Bright Eyes @ Radio City Music Hall
Benevento/Barba/Elmes @ Bar 4 (Brooklyn)
Dappled Cities @ Piano's (late)
Supagroup @ Mercury Lounge
The Swell Season @ Beacon Theater
Peter Moren @ Joe's Pub (midnight)

*Doug Wamble @ Barbes (Brooklyn) (early)
Cafe Tacuba @ Hammerstein Ballroom
Roy Hargrove Quintet @ Village Vanguard (early/late)
Sly & The Family Stone @ BB King's (early/late)
Courvoisier/Feldman @ The Stone (late)
Jaik Miller Band @ LUV 24/7

The Hold Steady (Art Brut, 1990's opens) @ Terminal 5
*Benevento/Russo Duo (Mocean Worker opens) @ Music Hall (Brooklyn)
Roy Hargrove Quintet @ Village Vanguard (early/late)
KT Turnstall @ Roseland Ballroom
Brian Setzer Orchestra @ Beacon Theater

Detroit/Dallas Day
Roy Hargrove Quintet @ Village Vanguard (early/late)

And You Will Know Us... @ Bowery Ballroom
*Kevn Kinney @ Union Hall (Brooklyn)
Dave Brubeck @ BB King's (early)
Roy Hargrove Quintet @ Village Vanguard (early/late)
Melvin Sparks @ Blue Note (late night)
Bomb Squad @ Mercury Lounge (late)
Cowboy Junkies @ Tarrytown Music Hall (Tarrytown)
McNeil/McHenry Quartet @ Cornelia St. Cafe
David Kolker Band @ The Bitter End
Antigone Rising @ Mexicali Blues (Teaneck, NJ)
Dark Star Orchestra @ Nokia Theater

RAQ @ Highline Ballroom
Roy Hargrove Quintet @ Village Vanguard (early/late)
Antigone Rising @ Mexicali Blues (Teaneck, NJ)
Slick Rick @ BB King's (late)
Dark Star Orchestra @ Nokia Theater
Jerry Lee Lewis @ BB King's (early)
*McNeil/McHenry Quartet @ Cornelia St. Cafe
Dave Brubeck @ Blue Note (early/late)
Arlo Guthrie @ Carnegie Hall
Reed Foehl et al @ Rockwood Music Hall

Erin McKeown @ Feinstein's
*Roy Hargrove Quintet @ Village Vanguard (early/late)
Stephane Wrembel @ Barbes (Brooklyn) (late)

Click here for upcoming shows

15 November 2007

minimix: Weekend Sampler

Looks like the weekend before Thanksgiving beats the one after for once. Just a cross-section, albeit one with some pretty long album titles.... lots more where these came from.

Download the mix

01 Come Together -- Spiritualized: Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space (1997)
02 We Can Work It Out -- Stevie Wonder: Signed, Sealed And Delivered (1970)
03 Superhero -- Ani DiFranco: Dilate (1996)
04 Left On Laura, Left On Lisa -- The Avett Brothers: Four Thieves Gone: The Robbinsville Sessions (2006)
05 I'm a Broken Heart -- The Bird and the Bee: The Bird and the Bee (2006)
06 Beanbag Chair -- Yo La Tengo: I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass (2006)

Previously in minimix:
ACL '07 Preview
Weekend in Preview (7/4/07)
Week In Preview (4/16/07)
Weekend Sampler (1/18/07)

Links of the Week

Let's start with another edition of "information that's only interesting to me"

Semi-regular update on downloads. Last done here. (previous)

  1. Arcade Fire 17Feb97 (1)
  2. WSP Reno 3/29/97 Part 1 (2)
  3. minimix 26oct07 -- Mix R Treats (UR)
  4. Best of 2006 disc 2 (3)
  5. minimix 11may07 -- Jazzercise.3 (UR)
  6. minimix 16feb07 -- F.Art.S. Vol 2 (Herring) (9)
  7. minimix 6apr07 -- Americana Is Beautiful.1 (5)
  8. minimix 20jul07 -- Jazzercise.4 (UR)
  9. minimix 8jun07 -- Comes Alive Vol 3 (4)
  10. minimix 16mar07 -- Comes Alive Vol. 2 (6)
[dropped out:12. WSP Warfield 3/31/97 Part 1(7);11. minimix 6jul07 -- HORDEstalgia (8);13. WSP Reno 97 part 2 (10)]

Biggest movers since last we looked:
  1. wsp22apr97 d2
  2. minimix 21nov06 -- TurkeyTrot
  3. bjork 5may07
  4. minimix 19oct07 -- Frisell F.Art.S.
  5. Arcade Fire 17Feb97
And a handful of links:
Finally, another Conversation With/Education of LJ (i.e. what a 6 year old thinks about when you're driving to the grocery store)

LJ: If you go to jail, do you ever get out?
Dad: Sometimes.
LJ: Like if you get better... if you're a better listener?
Dad: Right, it's called rehabilitation.
LJ: So, like if you cut down a tree and you go to jail you might get out if you promise not to?
Dad: Well, you probably wouldn't go to jail for that.
LJ: Or smashed a car?
Dad: Well, if you did that and went to jail, you would get out. But if you killed someone, you probably wouldn't.
LJ: Oh. Like the man who killed Abraham Lincoln is still in jail.
Dad: Well, not any more, he's dead.
LJ: Yeah! Sometimes you go to jail for so long that you just die there, right?
Dad: Right, it's called a life sentence, cause you go there for the rest of your life.
LJ: I don't ever want to go to jail.
Dad: Me neither.

14 November 2007

Review: Care Bears on Fire|Children of the Unicorn

Southpaw, Brooklyn|Blender Theater 9 November 2007

Had an interesting Friday night. Two opening bands, in some ways completely different from each other and in other ways very similar. They were two of the most self-aware musical acts I've seen in a while. And they both love to rock.

The first stop was for Care Bears on Fire in Brooklyn. They're a power trio for the tweener set: three middle school aged kids rocking out on guitar, bass and drums. In a way, it's just a gimmick, yes, but if you're going to go with that slant, you should at least have a killer name (check) and you should rock the casbah, legit... which they do their best job to do. The sound is kinda garage/Brit-punk with a threesome in various stages of their growth spurts: girl guitarist who has some legitimate prepubescent chops, a girl drummer who is a little spastic as all drummers should be, but maybe to the point where she's not keeping time as well as she should, and a near-stoic, lanky big bird of a bass player who will have a long career as a rock bassist based on looks alone. Their songs were a lot of fun -- "I met you on myspace... but you were a unicorn." Like I said, a little too self-aware, with one song, "Baby Animals" starting off all kid-like "I like puppies... I like kittens..." and then flipping over into a thrashy metalesque shred. The guitarist seems to have the front woman vibe inside her, though, occasionally getting seriously pyrotechnic on her Gibson and channeling a Brit-rock accent in her vocals. The crowd was a nice mix -- I simultaneously felt very old and very young with the 8th grade contingent and their parents. The biggest disappointment of the night was the fact that hardly any of the kids were dancing or rocking out. If you're already disaffected and inhibited at 12 what kind of future holds for rock and roll??

The postmodern tilt was in full gear later at the Blender where I was ostensibly there to see Rose Hill Drive again, but was sure to get there early for Children of the Unicorn. It wasn't quite Spinal Tap, but it was a hilarious combination of pretending to be a cheesy homosexual-undertoned metal band and actually being that band in its full glory. The songs were ridiculous on title alone: "Fire in Your Pants" anyone? Each song seemed to up the previous in absurdity... "this is a song about a shark... at night... it's called 'Night Shark.'" But, hey, let's face it, they totally rocked it, even to a sparse crowd who was more in tune with the power blues rock of RHD. OTW hero Jake was brilliantly ridiculous as the tambourine/cowbell/air guitar man -- each song he took off a t-shirt revealing another perfectly off-color Rocks Off innovation (e.g. "I gay men... because I hate kids") until the end when he was forced to go bare chested having run out of shirts. The only thing this band lacked was pyrotechnics, smoke machines and strobe lights to flesh out the blazing guitars and throbbing metal rhythm. Fun, fun, funny.

I am sad to say that I reached my limit shortly after those guys left the stage and made the decision to pack it in well before Rose Hill hit the stage. Seen 'em twice already this year and felt a raging headache coming on... alas!

12 November 2007

Photo (+Rev.): Menomena


Webster Hall 10 November 2007

One of my favorite albums of 2007 thus far is Menomena's Friend and Foe. It is a deep mixture of psychedelic rock and fist-pumping anthemic glory with all sorts of heady musical ingredients. As far as rock and roll recipes go, it is like the chocolate chip cookie: just a perfect blend of deliciousness. But you know how sometimes you make cookies and you screw something up -- baking powder instead of baking soda, tablespoons instead of teaspoons? And then it just doesn't taste right? Well, unfortunately, the live version of Menomena -- at least as witnessed by me and the Big Squeeze Saturday night, was like all the ingredients were there except for one or two simple slip ups... and the result was something you're not sure you should just go ahead and swallow or just spit into your napkin. No, it wasn't good.

Sure, there were little moments of near-magic, when you could glimpse what could possibly be, but really, the show kinda stunk. I wasn't sure how they could bottle that orchestral sound up and reproduce it on the stage, especially with only three guys, and in the end they didn't. But it was more than that -- it was more than just not recreating the studio magic, because while it threw me off the trail of recognizability, I could have dealt with that, but also the band was not tight, the vocals were terrible and on and on. They even seemed to agree with me, sort of joking that they hadn't played together in years... maybe it was just an off night.

The best part of the show was late in the set when they brought a choir out to fill out the last few numbers. The first of these was a brilliant example of the potential as well as illustrating exactly how the rest of the night was so seriously lacking. The choir was interesting to look at as well -- there was nothing that tied the 4 women and 4 men together visually. They all looked so distinct and yet so different from each other. Weird. The experience of bringing a choir out was kind of strange because it added a weight of significance to a show that was otherwise barely a trifle. Like, if the band had brought it for the rest of their hour, it would have pushed it over the top, the culmination of guitars and bass and drums and saxophones and beautiful songsmanship. But as it was, it was kind of sad.

There was another angle to our time at Webster Hall that was entertaining in its own right. The sound, I will admit, was dialed in pretty nicely except for one piece -- the bass drum was cranked up so high that every time the drummer gave it a kick my shirt literally flapped a little for the breeze of the wave going by. It wasn't so much that you were hearing the drum, you felt your heart murmur in stress for the power overwhelming it with every pulse. It was like an extreme physics lesson -- sound is a compression wave passing through the air and the change in pressure, as dictated by the ideal gas law (you know, PV=nRT?) meant a change in temperature... yes, you could actually feel the air getting warmer every time the sound of the bass drum passed through your body. Utterly bizarre. It was a little disconcerting, nauseating and also kind of exhilirating -- the little hairs in your ear and on the back of your neck wiggling, nay, trembling in fear of the power of the bass drum. After the first few songs people were calling out "turn down the kick drum" -- but twas in vain. I can't remember being enveloped by bass like that in a long while, just totally overwhelming and distracting and kind of lovely. Too bad the music stunk.

We got there too late for Illinois -- one song. I like those guys. Too bad.

The nightcap was to be American Babies over at Ace of Clubs. That could have made the night, had they come on a bit earlier. We caught the first 4 or 5 tunes and then had to jet -- smartly parking the car in a spot that became illicit at 1am... else we might have stayed out much too late, and we wouldn't want that. The band is Tom Hamilton's new alt-country-rock outfit and features a bang-up band with Sir Joe Russo on the drums and Scott Metzger on guitar. They rock in an Uncle Tupelo-ish way: that is, not ear-splitting craziness, but subtle song-driven dollops of the good stuff. Lots of potential in this one, keep your eye out for 'em. The key is that the songs are good; add good songwriting to the Joe/Scott catalyst and you've got hot shit. While waiting for that, we survived a set by a band called "Visible From Space" which made my skin crawl for want of them getting off the stage.

I've been in a bit of a rut lately.

11 November 2007

Shows of the Week


Click here for upcoming shows

Benevento/Barba/Elmes @ Bar 4
*Hopewell @ Club Midway
BB King @ BB King's
Twines of Colesion @ Zebulon (Brooklyn)

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah @ Bowery Ballroom
Van Halen @ Madison Square Garden
Battles @ Webster Hall
BB King @ BB King's
Peter Apfelbaum's Hieroglyphics @ Zebulon (Brooklyn)
Joe Lovano Quintet @ Village Vanguard (early/late)
Reverend Horton Heat, Hank Williams III, Nashville Pussy @ Highline Ballroom
*Jenny Scheinman @ Barbes (Brooklyn) (early)
Jaik Miller Band @ LUV 24/7

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah @ Studio B (Brooklyn)
*Kevin Drew @ Webster Hall
Joe Lovano Quintet @ Village Vanguard (early/late)
Marco Benevento @ The Cutting Room
Federico Aubele @ Joe's Pub (late/midnight)
Nasheet Waits Equality @ Barbes (Brooklyn) (early/late)

*Malajube @ Bowery Ballroom
Trevor Dunn @ The Stone (late)
Something for Rockets @ Mercury Lounge
Van Davis @ 55 Bar (early)
Jaik Miller Band et al @ Fontana's
Joe Lovano Quintet @ Village Vanguard (early/late)
Mike Doughty @ Joe's Pub
Corn Mo et al @ Cake Shop

Derek Trucks Band @ Bergen PAC (Englewood, NJ)
Polyphonic Spree @ Terminal 5
The Codetalkers @ Mexicali Blues (Teaneck, NJ) (late night)
Robert Earl Keen @ Fillmore
Ghostface Killah, Rakim @ Nokia Theater
Joe Lovano Quintet @ Village Vanguard (early/late)
Dust Galaxy @ Hiro Ballroom
Mike Doughty @ Joe's Pub (early)
Spiritualized @ Apollo Theater
*Yo La Tengo @ Music Hall (Brooklyn)
The Subdues @ BB King's
Reverend Horton Heat, Hank Williams III, Nashville Pussy @ Highline Ballroom

Robert Earl Keen @ Fillmore
Joe Lovano Quintet @ Village Vanguard (early/late)
Avett Brothers @ Webster Hall
Donna the Buffalo/Ollabelle @ Highline Ballroom
Galactic @ Roseland Ballroom
Against Me! @ Terminal 5
Beat the Devil et al @ Cake Shop
Ani Difranco @ Town Hall
Pharaoh's Daughter @ Joe's Pub (late)
*Stevie Wonder @ Madison Square Garden
The Moonlighters @ Barbes (Brooklyn) (late)
Malajube @ Maxwell's (Hoboken)

Allen Toussaint @ Joe's Pub (noon)
Joe Lovano Quintet @ Village Vanguard (early/late)
*Ani Difranco @ Town Hall
The Bird and the Bee @ Blender Theater
Marco Cappelli @ Roulette

Click here for upcoming shows

Nedstalgia: 15 Years Ago

[Previously in Nedstalgia: Phish shows 1 & 2, #3 #5 #77 & 78, #79); Mule; Widespread Panic (& 'ween 97); The Duo; Robert Randolph HORDE 92 (i.e. Phish #4, WSP #1)]

A little bonus recollecting, albeit a day late. Meant to put together something short yesterday about my 1st "real" Panic show: 11/10/92 at the Paradise in Boston. The real unfortunate thing is that I haven no recording of this night -- I'm pretty sure none exists -- and thus am left with my memories and my memories alone. If anyone reading this had a way of getting even the crappiest of analog tapes with this one on there, I'd be eternally grateful.

So what of those memories. There are a few... first, being up in Boston post-HORDE experience there wasn't really measurable quantities of Panic love in the area the time. I only had a brief taste myself and what I had was more curiosity, not love. Two low-level crosses with fate changed what might have been a fleeting acquaintance with what became and persists to be a lifelong romantic affair with Widespread Panic.

The first was running into a dude wearing a Widespread Panic t-shirt at the dining hall one day early in my freshman year, the sight of which triggered an immediate reaction -- that was the band that rocked my face off a few months early. I had no choice to say "hey" and after a brief chat with the dude was instructed to seek "Disc Diggers" in Davis Square -- a treasure chest of used CD's in Somerville. There I found both WSP discs on sale for 99 cents each (not to mention the ARU disc at a mark up for $1.99). As far as under-a-buck purchases have gone in my days, those two were probably as momentous as any. Thankfully my roommate at the time was a Grade A Deadhead and was more than receptive to listening to those two CD's over and over... and over again. All told, I've probably abused those two pieces of plastic more than any others and they're still producing smiles. That was both the pine needle kindling necessary to get the flames going as well as the heavy duty lumber that made a small little campfire into a big ole bonfire. Not like it was planets aligning or anything, but still, I remember running into that guy very distinctly. As weird twist-o-fate would have it, that guy would become a member of the on-campus band Gus which later became Guster who I saw open for Panic many years later.

Shortly after that, or maybe it was before that, on one sunny fall weekend day I found myself in the Tower Records in Harvard Square... which is one of the interesting things uncreative guys like me did with their Sunday afternoons. I ran into another Deadhead acquaintance there who gave me the "You like Widespread Panic , right?" -- this was Panic fan #3 of 5 at school. "Well, I just got tickets, they're playing in Boston next month." (the Ticketmaster outlet was right in the store; convenience in the pre-convenience-charge days). Now that was a little bit of luck. There's no doubt that I would have totally missed that show, not even known about it. Heck, I don't even know how I knew what was going on back then. How did we find out about shows in the pre-internet days? I honestly can't remember. Of course, I promptly bought one [note: looking now at the pristince ticket stub, I paid five dollars and fifty fucking cents for this gig!]. I was going to see Panic! It was all coming together.

I convinced a couple guys to go to the show, present-day frient of OTW, Oopy drove, the place was, if I'm being generous, half full. That was my first time at the Paradise and they renovated it rather dramatically shortly after that... I can barely remember what it looked like back then. Somehow when the band took the stage they seemed nothing like the dudes I had seen over the summer. The dark mystery of the room enhanced the experience, undoubtedly. I settled in right up front and soaked it all in from the first note.

I remember... I remember the Driving Song and the way they opened the show with it and then twisted through some dark jamming tunnels back into the second half later on and my utter unfamiliarity with that whole sandwich concept made me feel, later on in retrospect, like the entire show was just one long variation on that theme. I remember the highlight being that Mercy -- the jam that ensued was next level in the way that I did not appreciate that such a level existed in music. It crushed my soul in the best way possible. In many ways my continual return to Widespread Panic has been some sort of innate desire to find the music made during that Mercy jam. I would give anything to hear it again, to discover some long lost copy of that show just to confirm that I am/am not utterly insane. I remember the feeling that the band played like it did not care if there was no one in the crowd, 100, 1000 or a million... they were playing the music because they had to and if someone came along to listen, then so be it. The weight of tunes like Fishwater and Chilly was the same no matter the audience, would have measured even in the weightlessness of outer space. That was a concept we became quite used to scraping together a show or two every year in the unappreciated and unappreciative northeast. I remember the encore -- Jojo came out and started Longhair-ing it on the piano for a minute or two before the rest of the band came out and somehow his freestyle dropped perfectly into the opening slow burn riff of Low Spark and me squirting my pants a little when I realized what it was... they play this!?

They nailed it. They nailed me. Done and done... back to the room to listen to more.

More to come...

09 November 2007

minimix: Americana Is Beautiful.4 Down the Slide

A little liberal with my definitions, but here's a set loosely based on the slide guitar. Enjoy!

Download the mix

01 Mississippi Bollweevil -- North Mississippi Allstars: Electric Blue Watermelon (2005)
02 Concrete And Barbed Wire -- Lucinda Williams: Car Wheels On A Gravel Road (1998)
03 Wild Mountain Nation -- Blitzen Trapper: Wild Mountain Nation (2007)
04 Helpless -- Fareed Haque: Deja Vu (1997)
05 Native Stepson -- Sonny Landreth: Grant Street (2005)
06 Like a Rolling Stone Drive-By Truckers -- Highway 61 Revisited Revisited (2005)

Previously in minimix:
Relatively New
Schoolin' Banjos
Feellin' Steely

07 November 2007

Links of the Week

Sorry no review yesterday... sad to say there was nothing to recap. Next week, I promise.

Some music related links and YouTubes for your Thursday:

06 November 2007

Photo of the Week

Halloween cont'd... you know you love it.

04 November 2007

Shows of the Week

Something for everyone...


Click here for upcoming shows

John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble @ Jazz Standard (early/late)
Phil Lesh & Friends @ Nokia Theater
Sia @ Highline Ballroom
Chuck MacKinnon Mactet @ Lucille's
*Adam Rudolph/Organic Orchestra @ Roulette

Election Day:
Shelley Burgon @ The Stone (early)
Asleep At the Wheel @ BB King's
Jaik Miller Band @ Luv 24/7
*Phil Lesh & Friends @ Nokia Theater
Alice Smith @ Mercury Lounge
Greg Osby @ Village Vanguard (early/late)
Jamie Saft solo @ The Stone (late)
Joy Askew @ Banjo Jim's (early)

*I'm Not There Dylan tribute @ Beacon Theater
Michael Wolff @ Iridium (early/late)
Greg Osby @ Village Vanguard (early/late)
Iverson/Street/Waits @ Smalls
Willie Waldman w/ S. Molitz, G. Koerner, V. Amico @ Jazz Standard (early/late)
Carolina Chocolate Drops @ Symphony Space
John Zorn Improv night @ The Stone (early/late)
The Samples @ Blend Bar (Ridgewood, NJ)

Dr. Dog @ Maxwell's (Hoboken)
Van Halen @ Nassau Colesium (Uniondale, LI)
*Papa Grows Funk (BuzzUniverse opens) @ Lion's Den
Th' Legendary Shack Shakers @ Mercury Lounge
Deborah Harry @ Fillmore
Phil Lesh & Friends @ Nokia Theater
Iverson/Street/Waits @ Smalls
Marshall Allen @ Zebulon (Brooklyn) (late)
Witch (w/ J Mascis) @ Luna Lounge (Brooklyn)
Chuck Prophet @ Joe's Pub (early/late)
Licorice @ Mexicali Blues (Teaneck, NJ)
Greg Osby @ Village Vanguard (early/late)
Fats Domino tribute @ Pink Elephant
Chris Barron @ Bitter End

Josh Ritter (Eric Bachmann opens) @ Webster Hall
*Dr. Dog @ Bowery Ballroom
The Thrills @ Mercury Lounge
Phil Lesh & Friends @ Nokia Theater
Corky Laing Band @ BB King's
Mink, Care Bears on Fire @ Southpaw (Brooklyn) (early)
MK Groove Orchestra @ Blue Note (late night)
Funkin Truth @ BB King's (late)
Juliette and the Licks @ Luna Lounge (Brooklyn)
Tony Furtado @ Living Room (early)

*Menomena (Illinois opens) @ Webster Hall
John Butler Trio @ Terminal 5
Saft/Previte (CD release) @ The Stone (early)
Laura Cantrell @ Mercury Lounge
Phil Lesh & Friends @ Nokia Theater
KiF @ Blue Note (late night)
Greg Osby @ Village Vanguard (early/late)
Wolff & Tuba @ Knitting Factory (early)
The Black Hollies @ Magnetic Field
Forro In The Dark @ SOB's
Tragedy, Mr. Brownstone @ Bowery Ballroom
Brooklyn Qawwali Party @ Barbes (Brooklyn) (late)
The Samples/Shannon McNally @ Highline Ballroom
Los Amigos Invisibles @ Fillmore
Dub Is A Weapon @ Zebulon (Brooklyn)
Buffalo Tom @ Southpaw (Brooklyn)
Saft/Pride/McHenry @ The Stone (late)

*Greg Osby @ Village Vanguard (early/late)
Phil Lesh & Friends @ Nokia Theater
Wayne Horvitz @ Roulette

Click here for upcoming shows

01 November 2007

minimix: DoubleCovered.2

Inspired by a recent night on the town, here's an all-jammed-up, Marco Benevento edition of the "six tracks, three songs, two versions each" gimmick. Worth the download for the Duo version of Hamp's Hump, I assure you. Enjoy your weekend.

Download the mix

01 Nobody Does It Better -- Marco Benevento: Live At Tonic (2007)
02 Hamp's Hump -- Galactic: 8 April 2007
03 Fearless -- Benevento, Dillon, Mathis: 7 March 2007
04 Fearless -- Blue Floyd: 31 January 2000
05 Hamp's Hump -- Benevento/Russo Duo w/ Justin Wallace: 23 May 2002
06 Nobody Does It Better -- Sex Mob: Does Bond (2001)

Previously in minimix:
DoubleCovered.1 (gospeditional)