31 October 2007

Review: The Go! Team

(61)

Studio B, Brooklyn, 28 October 2007

Check out the Go! Team on the Hype Machine

You see the important thing about the name of the band, The Go! Team is that exclamation mark... not just that punctuation, but where it sits. They're not The Go Team! or, heaven forbid, The! Go Team. No, the emphasis is on "GO," the verb, action, movement, pure kinetics. That's really all you need to know -- this band moves with pure kinetic energy and anyone standing idly by in the swath that is their music is quickly drawn into the vortex and can't help but to move... to Go!
Yeah, the show was on Sunday and I think now a few days later my heart rate has finally settled back down to my typical rest state. You've got your Holy Fuck! and !!!, but The Go! Team is even more fundamental in their quest to make you sweat. The band swept through NYC in typical fashion for a hot up-and-comer act... that is they played Manhattan one night and Brooklyn the next. The Bowery Ballroom show had been sold out, but getting a ticket to the Studio B show wasn't too much of a problem. That's fine, I've been wanting to check out that room for a while. Of course, the catch is that the show is on a Sunday night which is always a tough sell for my brain to my body.
Last time I did the Sunday thing was for Iron & Wine and I was convinced that the mellow Sam Beam was the perfect way to round out a weekend. Now, I'm not so sure. In fact, I'd go so far to say that if every week started with a cold blast of the Go! Team, I might make it Monday to Friday with a little more pep in my step. Oh man, do these guys bring it! It's a 3 guys/3 girls multi-ethnic split that has the band looking like a Benetton advertisement in the flesh (question: is this reference even relevant any more?). The live show is some weird combination of rock and roll and hip hop, a high school pep rally and a full-out aerobics class. The musicians bound about on stage like they're on speed and the lead chiquita lays down the vocals in an adorable British accent that'll have you doing whatever she asks.
The thing about that show is that there is no deconstructing it whatsoever. I mean, I'm more than happy to look for deeper meaning in anything, to add hyperbolic import to a single guitar chord... given the chance I'll declare any live music experience to be a metaphor for life itself. But with these guys, I've got nothing. 100% corporeal experience. The lyrics don't have much more meaning beyond "come on everybody, let's rock this joint" and the melodies are the simplest ditties you could ask for. But that's like saying that a fireworks display is just your basic red, green, blue and white. Yeah, we've seen those colors before, but it's the BANG! that counts. The Go! Team is pure bang. They do mix it up a wee bit: an instrumental here, a slowdown faux-acoustic number there, I think most of the band members got a chance to sing on a song and they did switch up instruments every once in a while, but mostly it operates at one level... one glorious level.
Studio B was a perfect place for the party. It's mostly a dance club type atmosphere with different alcoves and chill spots and multi levels across a pretty open layout. The area in front of the stage is deceptively tight which packs the crowd into a nice intimate area; perfect for feeding the band and getting fed in turn. From the looks of it, you never would have known it was Sunday night... there were plenty of freakers out in early Halloween costumes and the joint was, as they say, jumping. The place was pulsing with a whole bunch of that Go! Go! Go! and I can't remember being a part of a crowd that hepped up before. We shook and boogied and did lots of jumping up and down. It was one big exercise mat up front and the more calisthenics they had us doing, the more kinetic energy we gave back. That was live music pure and simple... with a capital "!"
A word about the openers. I've been incredibly lucky with opening bands this year; they've made some of my favorite shows and I've embraced several support acts as full-fledged loves. So, I've been due for some clunkers, and man, oh man, did Sunday night serve up a one-two punch. Now, I'm not saying they're the worst band I've seen all year, but Effi Briest was the worst band I've seen all year... actually in a long, long time. The whole act is so ill-conceived I can't settle on just one way to say "they sucked." First of all, there was an act before them, "heartsrevolution" that was like a girl rapping with another girl backing her up and a dude on keyboard/laptop. And they were pretty awful in that "man, the path from fucking around in your apartment to getting a decent gig in NYC is getting a little too easy" kind of way. I mean, ugh! Ugh! Ugh! But they were very short -- like 15 minutes -- and had a decent spirit that I couldn't dwell too much on it. If they were a blind date, you might walk away saying they had a good personality.

So, they go off without incident and we're waiting for the next band. And waiting. And waiting. And waiting. And you get the picture. 45 minutes. Occasionally someone would come out and play around with a guitar and then disappear. Holy shit that was annoying. They finally come out and take the stage and they're still not ready to play. More setting up and moving things around and tuning. Please. Start. Playing. Now. Really. I was pulling my hair out in frustration. It was 7, count them 7 women of various looks and the instruments they were setting up were a very eclectic mix, to say the least. A couple guitars, a bass and a drum set, yes... but also a clarinet, accordion, a bleeping recorder (flashbacks to 2nd grade music class; hello Miss Haas!) and so forth. Then finally they start playing and it's like, can I even describe it? First of all, it's got this sort of avant-garde edge, like this is the kind of thing that situated it in some Lower East Side not-yet-ready-for-Tonic venue, not the dance party atmosphere they should have been trying to cultivate. When I wasn't being distracted by the clarinetists ample garden-of-the-armpit, I was truly horrified by the music. The two guitarists were not even playing in the same key at the same time, the drummer did a horrible job holding down such a large group, and add into that some high school level clarinet and/or accordion and some off-pitch caterwauling and you get the picture. It's hard for me to hate on bass players, especially the quintessential "chick bass player" and the only thing I could stand listening to, or even look at, in Effi Briest was the bassist. My body actually started convulsing in weird ways for want of the set to end. Holy crumb that is some bad music, and I think I'm being relatively gentle here, I could go on. A photo for posterity:

I couldn't muster even polite applause after songs without feeling completely disingenuous, and I wasn't the only one. I do not exaggerate when I say that the most enthusiastic response was for the announcement that "this will be our last song." Avoid at all costs. Actually let's add an exclamation point to that last sentence, it's what The Go! Team would have wanted.

30 October 2007

Nedstalgia: 10 Years Ago

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

[Download the show (get 'em all here, or in easy to digest portions):

also: click song titles below to download individual tracks]

Every once in a while you go to a Widespread Panic show and they sing "this town is nuts, my kind of place..." and the crowd goes "woohoo!" 'cause ain't it the truth. Ten years ago, 10/31/97, Panic opened up their first Halloween show in New Orleans with "Postcard" and when JB belted out "don't ever want to leave," man, he wuddn't kidding. Of course, I was there, otherwise I wouldn't be thinking about it today. It wasn't just a trip to see WSP (my first Panic Halloween after 4 straight years Phishin' it), it was also my first trip to Louisiana. I'm far from a NOLAphile, but I'm of the mind that there are many different versions of the Crescent City and it'd take a lifetime to come to know them all. On this trip I learned a few of the secrets, one of which is that otherwise crazy music transforms itself into apeshit "your mind has left your body" full-out experiences. This is doubly true for Widespread Panic.

The Lakefront Arena is nothing special as far as your standard basketball venue turned rock hall is concerned. Yet somehow Widespread + NOLA + Lakefront = magical mystery. Over the years the band has cultivated their own brand of voodoo in that room, playing some of the nastiest stuff they're capable of... but 10 years ago, they were just getting warmed up. They were the young version of Harry Potter, just coming to grips with the ability to wave a wand around and make magic out of everydayness. Now I wasn't ready to pronounce some mystical powers on the gentlemen at show's end that night, I could only say that they had played a kick ass Halloween party.

We got there plenty early. Galactic was a band I hadn't heard a lick of... at that point they were just the name of a band I'd seen on the internet. The "funk craze" of the late nineties had not yet started kicking in to full tilt at the time, so Galactic was off most people's radars... especially northern freaks like ourselves -- in fact, I'm not sure how long the band had even existed in its its form at that point. So, it was no surprise that the room was fairly empty for their opening set. The emptiness of the room combined with a pretty poor sound mix, but there was no denying that there was some sort of something going on on stage. At the very least, these guys came to party in their own way and gave us something to look at. Every band member was dressed in silver jumpsuits, as I recall, which had Xmas-type lights wrapped around/in them. The look was fantastic and perfectly matched the cosmic porn-funk coming from their instruments. Nawlins lesson #415: If good music is even better in New Orleans, it's one more kick up the ladder when it's made by homegrown musicians -- noted.

We got situated, so to speak, for the main event and were in good position to check out the boys' regalia for the evening. The band totally embraced the NewOrleanosity of the night: JB was dressed as Ignatius J. Reilly even sporting a genuine NOLA hot dog cart to match... you can listen to the "tapes" and realize what a smoking show it was, but you can't appreciate it fully unless you know that Bell played the night with a pillow stuffed in his shirt and a hunting cap on his head. The drum kit was dolled up in pure voodoo fashion and the rest of the band sported one thing or another that I can't remember at the moment.

The setlist can be found here and was full of all sorts of tricks and treats. Halloween tradition dictates lots of bustouts and breakouts and general mayhem and Panic did oblige on all fronts. After that smoke-generating Postcard opening, they entered a first-set stretch of warming up and up and up hitting their stride with a deep, dark, nasty seldom-played "Four Cornered Room" that conjured the spirits of all that is Panic-style evil. This flipped into their first big bomb drop of the night -- Bill Withers' "Use Me" which was painfully funky and could only have been made better if they had invited some of the boys from Galactic up to polish off the groove.

The second set was where the real fun was though. After setbreak they opened with a hellish rock and roll blaze and got all monstrous with a bustout of Blue Oyster Cult's "Godzilla." It totally rocked, but they did themselves one better than just plucking a choice new cover song from obscurity for the faithful... as the song got deep into it, they lowered a little toy Godzilla doll down from the rafters in wonderful homage to Spinal Tap's Stonehenge -- classic! The rest of the set alternated between a little hat-tip-to-NOLA funk and dark, evil WSP-esque rock and roll. Before Rebirtha, Dave Schools announced how the song was originally going to be called "Apologies to George Porter" before dropping the groovy Metersy bass line on us. With all the craziness -- "Pusherman" was especially "!"; I don't remember much, but I do remember that, check out Jojo's sweet Beatles vamp on the clavinet midway through this -- the "Heaven" breakout after a long shelving was a delicious Three Musketeers bar out of drums and probably the highlight of my night. The show smoked, and the encore went above and beyond with a couple of one-and-dones for the Panic repertoire: "Long Live Rock" and The Doors' "L.A. Woman." This last one was a good one. I'd always felt somewhat responsible for getting the band to play Doors tunes and while it wasn't "Riders on the Storm," it was as good as I could have hoped. Lasting memory: JB singing, nay howling "Mr Mojo Risin!" over and over again, like a man possessed, channeling the Lizard King in wild-eyed fashion. Fuck yeah!

The band was dead on, as well... listening to it again I am, of course, sucked into Mikey's constant swirling guitars. I think they just wrapped some Christmas lights around him where he was sitting. Perfect, perfect "costume." The dude just sat there like a tree, roots stuck to the ground, but giving gifts without question or comment to us like we were kiddies on Xmas morning. I do miss 'em, this much is true, and listening to 10/31/97 don't help on that front..

I believe the next day was Saturday, November 1st and that was as interesting as the show itself. Without going into too much detail, we had, through no doing of my own, plans to meet Dave Schools for breakfast. BT, the Big Squeeze, Liffy and his buddy and myself met him down at the renowned Cafe Du Monde and our New Orleans education continued by daylight. Ten years is a long time, so my memory may be off, but I believe Dave ate about 40 beignets and put back a dozen cups of coffee. Mmmm... rock and roll. We were content to listen to Dave go on about the previous night's show, his excitement over pulling off the Spinal Tap prank, etc. (I remember explaining "Waiting for Guffman," as a worthy successor) and then go about our merry way to discover the city on our own. To our surprise, Dave was just as content to hang out with us boring old Yankees, walking us around the French Quarter, humoring all the well-wishers still wiping the cobwebs out from the previous evening's festivities, etc. To make a bizarre and long story succincter, we ended the afternoon jaunt up in his hotel room listening to his favorite Grateful Dead DAT's as he tried to convince us that the Dead's best years were 1983-85 (i.e. the years he was seeing a lot of Dead shows) pulling the "you gotta hear this!" routine that I had perfected with my own music collection back home. A truly illuminating experience.

And an exhausting one at that. One of the New Orleans lessons I didn't learn on that trip was the rule about squeezing as much music into the limited amount of time you have in the city. That one would have to wait until my next trip down there. For 11/1/97, we were happy to discover the only-in-New-Orleans cheese of Bourbon St., find ourselves some sickeningly sweet Hurricane-type concoctions and settled down in a bar to watch Donovan McNabb play football for the Orangemen before calling it a night.

If anything, the lesson of that weekend was that even the most mundane things can be made special in the right context, and the city of New Orleans proved to be the right context for a whole host of things. Doughnuts were called beignets, slurpees could get you gloriously drunk, rock stars were just like you, John Bell could be both an obscure literary reference and Jim Morrison at the same time and Widespread Panic kicked some serious ass... even more so. I would be back.

29 October 2007

Nedstaligia: 15 Years Ago

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

Halloween time... rich for some Nedstalgia and we've got a twofer for you after a long September layover. Today I'm looking back 15 years with 5th Phish show...

Download the show

My first couple months as a college freshman consisted of a lot of Phish -- listening to, talking about, making new friends over. Phish was a backdrop to boozing, study aid, social networking tool and all around obsession. And yet, for all that time and energy consumed, no Phish shows. So, when word started percolating through the campus faithful that the band was hitting the stage again, in town no less, I was just a wee bit psyched. My first hometown show as a Boston-area resident... when do tickets go on sale? Where is the show -- Orpheum Theater, Somerville Theater? Wait, what's that? Boston Garden? THE Boston Fucking Garden? Wait, what!?!?!

It seemed surreal to even think about it. Phish in an arena. Not just any arena, but the Boston Garden... the same room, cave, cavern where The Grateful Dead would be playing in a couple of weeks. Our Phish -- the guys we had that "up close and personal" relationship with... we called them by their first names and made goo-goo eyes at them from close proximity. Those guys were playing the Boston Garden? How? How would they manage it and how could we manage it?

Turns out it wasn't a headlining gig, but rather a kind of Halloween-ish showcase by classic rock WBCN with the Spin Doctors and a couple other acts on the bill. Like it mattered... when do tickets go on sale? Calendars were marked, coveted 2nd gen Maxell XLII's made to do a few more laps at extreme volume while copious amounts of Harpoon made the days go a bit quicker. And then, at last, show time.

The night of October 30th, 1992 was marked by some music, sure, but plenty of other weird fanfare and personal circumstances. As I remember it, there was an opener that we may have missed and then the Spin Doctors and then some between-set entertainment before Phish went on.

Amusing-to-me anecdote:

Between sets I was cruising the concourse for a Coca-Cola or somesuch when I happened upon a large crowd and realized that it was Mark White -- Spin Doctors bass player -- standing there, holding court with autograph hand set to sign as many ticket stubs and whathaveyou that got stuck in his face. By this time I felt like somewhat of a Spin Doctors expert -- that night would mark my fourth show in just a couple of months: HORDE set, opening for the Allman Brothers and then I saw them in my 1st show a week into the semester at the Avalon (I'll never forget watching some crazy chick surf the crowd that night and when she got close realizing "that girl lives down the hall from me!"). The Spin Doctors went from intriguing possibility to bordering-on-annoying in that short time, so rather than struggle to get an autograph, I stood over to the side and watched the spectacle of foolishness at hand. The crowd was pretty large. To truly appreciate the rest of this anecdote, you have to understand just what yours truly looked like back then -- big, tangled, messy beard, wildly disheveled hair under a baseball cap and crooked glasses -- see the accompanying picture taken from my ID card, taken probably just a few short weeks before the night in question. If anything, I was more wook-like by the 30th of October. So this rather drunk guy walks up to me and starts talking to me with a weird look in his eye. We get to chatting a bit and I'm humoring his drunkenness when I realize that he thinks I'm Jon Fishman. I'm doing nothing to perpetuate this notion, but I'm not doing anything to deny it either... as time goes on he's getting more and more convinced and starts pulling people over to convince them as well and amazingly no one's calling him/me on it. He started asking about a Phish newsletter that had just been sent out that featured a picture of Fishman doing the Jamie Gumb pose and I acknowledged that I had been quite fucked up at the time of that photograph. High comedy ensued, filed under "I wish I had video of that," ending in my signing his ticket stub (writing "Ned!" enthusiastically) and going on my merry way. Fantastic... I can only hope that there is some Masshole somewhere who's got a Ned-signed stub in the back of his desk drawer.

Even more hilarious and more bizarre was the "comedy" act that went on before Phish. It was some sort of comedy troupe on a stage set up on the opposite side of the Garden and to say they were awful is putting it mildly. To this day, I do not think I have seen someone booed as mercilessly as they were that night. It was the kind of situation where these guys -- their best bit was a poor imitation of kung fu movies, as I recall -- could have easily sapped all the energy out of the room. But the crowd, who amazingly seemed to be heavy on the Phish fans, wouldn't let it happen and instead just let them have it. If there had been a long hook in the Boston Garden last night, it would have been used to yank them off stage posthaste. They did finally get the hint and left us to our own anticipation. I imagine that night killed any hopes of an entertainment career for those dudes. I wonder what they're doing these days. "No really, I opened up for Phish once! I swear!"

Of course, there was the music.... on the face of it, the setlist reads like a pure getting-to-know-you circa 1992 kind of hour. But the setlist, as we know, is only part of the story. No, it wasn't the best playing of Phish's career either that made it special. What you have to consider here, is context. This wasn't just the first time Phish had played the Garden, it was the first time they'd played any Garden or arena. They were playing a showcase set and still managed to sneak a juxtaposed vacuum solo into the middle of Cavern, to hop on trampolines, drop some Simpsony "D'oh!" in there, play barbershop quartet in between two jam-laced prog-rockers, and leave the uninitiated with their heads scratching every step of the way. If nothing else, the small-town heroes proved to me and everyone like me that this was not a one-shot-deal, that they were destined for big, bad and better. In sum, they nailed it. The sound filled the arena all the way to our crummy little second tier seats. When Trey sang "approaching a rift..." early on, I looked out to the crowd below me and the chasm between me and the band and it felt real and wonderful and, to be honest, scary all at once. There have been so many "holy shit!" moments along the way, sometimes it seemed like several a night. Phish breaking their big arena cherry was just one of them, but one I am glad I got to see. I was a part of it, like I was a part of the shows I saw before and after, but for the first time I felt like a tiny part of it... and that was OK.

To say the band was giddy would be understating it. You can hear Fish on the recording screaming "ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Boston Garden!" before getting drowned out by the opening to Runaway Jim and just giving a "yeeehaw!" as they hit the ground running. Later on, Trey took a break to say how psyched he was to be playing the Garden and how he grew up dreaming of playing for the Boston Bruins. "I think this is the closest I'll get," he says... like this was a one-and-done for him. What do you think his reaction would be if you want back in time 15 years and explained Clifford Ball to him? That in less than 4 years he'd be holding sway like a biblical figure in front of tens of thousands of disciples. Big Cypress? Coventry? Crazy.

At that point when it was certain that the next song would be the last, I remember considering what song they could play to finish the night, another to-be-on-"Rift" song or maybe a pure rocker like "Chalkdust Torture." At that stage of their career, they were still defining how they would be perceived by the outside world and that night in Boston was the biggest mass mailing they had up til thent. The song you close the set with is the song people who had never heard you before will go away remembering you by. What song did Phish choose to play? "You Enjoy Myself." It was my first time seeing it and I danced my bewildered ass off. Man, I loved those guys. Total, deep funkified jamming that made it's way, as it always does, into a psychedelic vocal jam (tobacco!). And THAT is how they left their audience that night 15 years ago. Sometimes it seemed like they were just daring people to like them, like some crazy lifelong inside joke. Well, I fell for it again and again. Luckily there were plenty more chances to lose myself in the Phish before year's end... I'll hit on most of 'em when the time is right, so check back in, alright?

Tomorrow we'll do some quick trick-or-treating 10 years back into the Nedvault.

28 October 2007

Shows of the Week

And just think... next year Halloween will be on a Friday. Get yer candy on!

Enjoy!

Click here for upcoming shows

Monday:
David Bazan @ Mercury Lougne
Ed Reed & The Peck Allmond Quartet @ Jazz Standard (early/late)

Tuesday:
Jenny Scheinman @ Barbes (Brooklyn) (early)
Cypress Hill @ Nokia Theater
Black Crowes (Patti Smith opens) @ United Palace Theater
*Back Door Slam, Phonograph @ Mercury Lounge
Jaik Miller Band @ LUV 24/7
Mocean Worker @ Joe's Pub (late)
David Bazan @ Southpaw (Brooklyn)

Spooky Spooky:
The Police @ Madison Square Garden
Phil Lesh @ Nokia Theater
*Ryan Adams @ Hammerstein Ballroom
Zappa plays Zappa @ Beacon Theater
Black Crowes (Patti Smith opens) @ United Palace Theater
Manchester Orchestra, Annuals @ Bowery Ballroom
Dragons of Zynth, Beat the Devil @ Southpaw (Brooklyn)
Antibalas @ SOB's
Improv Night @ The Stone (early/late) (benefit)
Sam Bush/Jerry Douglas/Edgar Meyer @ Zankel Hall
Sun Ra Arkestra @ Iridium (early/late)
The B-52's @ Roseland Ballroom
Adam Levy (CD release) @ Banjo Jim's
Antigone Rising (perf. "Rumors") @ Knitting Factory (early)
Figurines, Dappled Cities @ Mercury Lounge
Zap Mama @ Highline Ballroom
The Misfits @ BB King's

Thursday:
The Decemberists (Laure Veirs opens) @ Terminal 5
Robert Fripp @ The Concert Hall
Phil Lesh @ Nokia Theater
Winterpills @ The Delancey
Ginger w/ Scott Metzger (acoustic) @ Tap Bar
Sun Ra Arkestra @ Iridium (early/late)
*Sonny Landreth @ BB King's
Figurines, Dappled Cities @ Mercury Lounge
Rogue Wave @ Bowery Ballroom

Friday:
Bob Mould @ Highline Ballroom
John Fogerty @ Hammerstein Ballroom
David Bromberg @ Town Hall
Phil Lesh @ Nokia Theater
The Police @ Madison Square Garden
The Waterboys @ Webster Hall
*The Decemberists (Laura Veirs opens) @ Terminal 5
Crooked Still @ Joe's Pub (early/late)
GFE @ Mercury Lounge (late)
John Fogerty @ Hammerstein Ballroom
Josh Rouse @ Blender Theater
Rogue Wave @ Maxwell's (Hoboken)
Koop, Mocean Worker @ Hiro Ballroom
Gary Lucas @ Bowery Poetry Club
Particle @ Highline Ballroom (late)
Lyrics Born @ Bowery Ballroom
Be Your Own Pet @ Mercury Lounge
Bob Mould @ Highline Ballroom
Lotus @ Music Hall (Brooklyn)

Saturday:
Rogue Wave @ Maxwell's (Hoboken)
Josh Rouse @ Blender Theater
Railroad Earth (Old School Freight Train opens) @ Fillmore
Van Halen @ Continental Arena (E. Rutherford, NJ)
Moon Alice @ Mexicali Blues (Teaneck, NJ)
Lotus (DJ Harry opens) @ Bowery Ballroom
Phil Lesh @ Nokia Theater
*Fiery Furnaces (Pit Er Pat opens) @ Hiro Ballroom
Annie Lennox @ United Palace Theater
Gogol Bordello, Dub Trio @ Terminal 5
Grizzly Bear @ The Concert Hall

Sunday:
*Band of Horses @ Terminal 5
Billy Martin solo @ The Stone (early/late)
Stephane Wrembel @ Barbes (brooklyn)

Click here for upcoming shows

25 October 2007

minimix: Mix R Treats

When is a pillow case not a pillow case? When it's redeployed as a candy sack in late October. So open that thing wide, cause we're coming at you with bonus tracks. That's right, boys and girls: a special Halloween edition for all the freakers out there. Enjoy!

Download the mix

01 Frankenstein -- Phish: 31 October 1994 (1994)
02 The Boogie Monster -- Gnarls Barkley: St. Elsewhere (2006)
03 Dracula -- Medeski, Martin & Wood: Shack Man (1996)
04 Monsters -- Band of Horses: Everything All The Time (2006)
05 Zombie -- Fela Kuti: The Best, Best of Fela Kuti (2000)
06 They Are Night Zombies!! -- Sufjan Stevens: 29 September 2006 (2006)
07 This Place Is Haunted -- Devotchka: How It Ends (2004)
08 Ghost -- Apollo Sunshine: Apollo Sunshine (2005)
09 Halloween Head -- Ryan Adams: 20 June 2007 (2007)

Previously in minimix:
Turkey Trot

Links of the Week

The long nightmare is over: The Boy found my sunglasses and we got a new computer. Thanks for your concern and let's give it up for T.B.!

Squeezing in a few short links in a busy week:

23 October 2007

Review: marco.sex.horses


(All photos courtesy of Fo-OTW, Greg Aiello (i.e. they're good for a change))

19 October 2007

When it all clicks, it is glorious -- for any group of musicians in any setting. But different bands click together in different ways; more generally the way 4 musicians players snap into place somehow sounds different than the way a trio does. It's all a mysterious chemistry, but each number of musicians -- solo, duo, trio on up have their own magic to them.

Friday night I was able to see this fundamental science at work with two different bands on two different stages. On a night when the city was aflame with more bands than days in the year from every corner of the planet, it was a handful of NYC regulars and friends who did done it more nasty. On top of that, the music and the musicians were a perfect complement to Tuesday's outing -- criss-cross contamination with lowest common denominators and minimal degrees of separation.

(58)

Sex Mob @ The Stone

First up it was Sex Mob -- Steven Bernstein, Tony Scherr, Briggan Krauss, w/ G. Calvin Weston on drums -- at John Zorn's magical musical closet, the Stone. I got there just a smidge before start time and the room was packed and warm. Yes, the room is a closet pinched in at the corner of 2nd St and Avenue C -- if it was 80 blocks northward, it would be packed with Manolo Blahniks and evening gowns for the days of the week, but in its deep East River-hugging location
it's packed with music... really fucking good music, without shelving, hangers or other neatly laid out organization whatsoever.
Bernstein + 3 = 4 and these guys clicked like any amazing foursome can. They were a breathing living definition of Quartet with a capital "Q" -- rock quartet, jazz quartet, barbershop quartet, they seemed to embody it all There were solos, for sure, but mostly they just were. Wow! That's all I can say. In an hour plus of playing there was just one short pause, otherwise everything was a continuous flow of music, wrapping, weaving, wending; a long, perfectly paced anecdote of slide trumpet, saxophone, bass and drums. The songs were segued together in expert fashion with Bernstein acting as director -- Robert Altman conducting the opening scene to "The Player" -- no cuts, just one long, incredibly entertaining take. The resulting music was a multi-dimensional, extra-galactic Spirograph that looped around and about in fantastic fashion. At times they dipped low, starting off in slow solo fashion before they added and built and added and built into something wickedly climactic. Then out of the burning rubble a new form would take place and they're be on to something different.
The room was perfect for the set. It contained the energy, focused it. I was actually sitting against a wall next to and parallel to the performance area and basically faced away from the band into the crowd. It didn't matter, the music traveled in all directions and bounced back off the walls and ceiling. It is sparsely decorated, but appropriately so. There is a smell in there -- the smell of an old college apartment passed down from roommate to roommate, so that a certain stench of partying and sloth sinks deep into the walls. It is the slightly unpleasant tang that accompanies being lived in -- not just lived in, but lived in to the highest level of sensual enjoyment. That is what The Stone is. Pure.
Sex Mob patched together a terrific set, originals from across their repertoire as well as the awesome covers that they've got pegged so nicely: Prince's "Little Nikki" was really, really awesome: an excellent balance of recognizable "they're nailing this song" qualities to the way-out there stretched "wow, they're really slaughtering this song" wizardry. A little James Bond action in there as well made the set complete. After calling out all the bass players I love last week, it was good to see Tony Scherr (Jenny Scheinman's longtime bandmate) get next level with his upright. That's some nutty range he's got, hitting a whole host of emotions and energy levels from quiet groaning to bumpity-bumpity basstronica licks. Krauss and Bernstein took turns being Jekyll and Hyde, playing like two hemispheres of the same brain throughout the set. And what can you say about Weston without using the word "sick!" He was only semi-literate in the Sex Mob catalog and yet was never anything but right on it.
I knew the show would be great, the players on top of the material, the energy in the room inspiring, but I wasn't prepared for the way it all just clicked like that. There are great foursomes out there, they get together and make nice geometry -- rectangles, trapezoids, the occasional rhombus... but it's a rare treat to get the perfect square and that's what Sex Mob had going on Friday night. Damn!

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Marco Benevento & Friends @ Joe's Pub

It was one of those bang, bang, bang nights, so we went last note of Sex Mob > brief but significant "holy shit" glances at each other > cab > Joe's Pub > order drink > Marco Benevento. We all know that Marco can snap into place with Sir Joe, they are the twosome by which I judge all others... heck, they are "The Duo" and those two would win any musical three-legged race they entered. But, again, the way two guys fit together is different than the way three do and lately Marco has been showing his kinky side favoring the threesome to all else.

The drummer seems to be the rotating spot right now -- he's played gigs with Matt Chamberlain and Mike Dillon and Friday night he was joined by The Slip's Andrew Barr -- but the bass playing duties have thankfully belonged to one guy -- Reed Mathis. Mathis is so good and so central to what's going on with this music that calling this trio "Marco Benevento and Friends" or anything else is starting to shade toward insulting. But that's just the fine print here, the big bold letters on this outfit are "Holy shit!" Four guys make music their way, two guys theirs, but this is how I like my trios, thank you!
And it is much different to watch Marco play in a trio. He lays back and let's the music come to him. Yeah, his name's on the bill, but he's more about the places where he's not taking charge than anything. His main focus is on the piano, but he's got just enough electricity -- literally and figuratively -- to take things intergalactic. The playing was great all around, these fellas know what they're going, but I found myself astounded with Marco's compositions and arrangements all set long. Frankly, it's a dead-heat between Benevento and Reid Anderson for composer numero uno de OTW... I'd love to see those two get together in a room with a sheaf of blank sheet music.

These songs are just flat out fantastic and now that they've been toured around a bit with he and Reed being truly intimate with the pieces and each other, they're taking on a life of their own. They reach all axes of the musical spectrum -- quiet, gorgeous fugue-like epics, deeply funky, hard-to-sit-still ragers and all points in between, around and beyond. I loved "The Real Morning Party" which is ultragroovy; terribly simple and addictive and yet plenty of room for open-ended gooey goodness. The covers and the arrangement and playing thereof were definite highlights: My Morning Jacket's "Golden" was a surprise (I hadn't realized this had hitchhiked its way into the repertoire) and was unbleepingbelievably good; the Zombies "She's Not There" was even more perfectly rendered than it was last time I saw it at the Tap Bar (and that blew me away); and the Bond-theme "Nobody Does It Better" was a nice complement to the Sex Mob soundtrack bit.

The originals mostly came off of the Live at Tonic release. It's funny to think that almost all the versions on that CD set were the first or second time those songs were played... and they are all incredibly good, sometimes impossibly so. So you can only imagine what kind of world we're living in when they actually have a time to ferment and age...the flavors mix together and that certain reaction takes place to the point where they are literally intoxicating. Then you have three guys clicking together in next-level fashion and you've got yourself quite a gig. Quite a gig. Not to say anything lesser about Chamberlain or Dillon, who both did it quite well, but I was very impressed with Barr's role in this version of the trio. Maybe it's because Andrew and Reed both play in trios for their day jobs -- trios that can get that interlocking-horns-tight thing going on -- that these three played so damn good together. Maybe it was the full-fledged grand piano and the late night vibe and the cozy-luxury confines of Joe's Pub that brought out the meat. Whatever it was, it was something special.
(60)

Band of Horses/The Maccabees @ Blender Theater

That should have been the end of the night -- the Benevento show didn't start until midnightish -- but as I'm making way to the train station, I realized that it was going to take a miracle to get make the train. So, since it was "on the way" and even more so since it was free, I decided to see if I could get in to the CMJ show at the Blender Theater at Gramercy (n.b. if the name of your venue has more than 3 words in it and/or one prepositional phrase in it, then you should know that I hate the name of your venue) featuring indie buzz band Band of Horses.

They waved me right in without a problem since the room was probably half full. The band on stage when I got there was The Maccabees who are from London and had that crooked teeth/awesome cockney vibe going on that worked in the loud, rangy, 2am rock and roll fashion that I'm occasionally warm to. One thing I did realize quickly was that there really were a lot of out-of-towners out and about, CMJ-style. They had a much different feel than your typical NYU-brand homegrown hipster, and also they were raging and dancing like I haven't seen in a while. Maybe it was just the Maccabees, but I was impressed for that hour. Maccabees were decent, but didn't do much to distinguish themselves into the gotta see/gotta buy/gotta download category. Still, I'd recommend 'em.

It got a bit more crowded for Band of Horses. Before they started there was a strange video game promo on the screen complete with some dude coming out in costume... that definitely made me feel old, but I did dig it when the girl next to me started booing loudly and drunkenly and flipped the whole proceeding the bird. Fight da man! While waiting I realized that I was going to have my 2nd train dilemma of the night -- by the time they took the stage, there wasn't much time before I'd have to leave for the next train. I decided to let the music decide.

I've got some BoH on the ole iTunes, but haven't felt it's pull in a strong way yet. Still, some folks seem to dig 'em and place them up there with MMJ, so I was interested. About 30 seconds into their first song it was quite obvious that they are strongly reminiscent of My Morning Jacket, even down to the lead singer's vocals being eerily Jim James-like. Lots of guitars, loud, raging rock and roll, it all adds up to being the poor man's MMJ. As far these things go, there are a lot of worse bands to be the poor man's version of. Falling short of that lofty aspiration still leaves plenty of room for high energy rocking out which is pretty much what they provided. The room was a bundle of good vibes -- all the kids addled from a weeklong music binge, beers and crazy alcoholic energy drinks they were giving away at the show still found enough oomph to let the Band of Horses get them going. This is where a more grumpy old man would go off on the kids today, but I didn't see much to offend me Friday night and hopefully didn't stick out as the fat married guy who should be getting home to give his kids breakfast. The only oddity with the crowd at the Blender Theater at Gramercy was that I overheard not one but two different and distinct sets of people discussing how facial hair was coming back into style again (The Band of Horses dude (i.e. Jim James-lite) had a substantial, if not wholly unattractive, beard going) which I found to be both bizarre but slightly comforting... ahead of the curve again, Neddy!

I decided that I was enjoying it but not enough to forgo the time in between 2:51am and 4:13 am so I made my way Penn Station-ward... then I realized that I probably was too wishy washy upon leaving and didn't give myself enough time to get to the station. Oh well, back into the Blender Theater at Gramercy! Good thing, too, cause not only were things tightening up on stage, but when I settled into my spot I saw someone I recognized. That's right, it was Josh Hartnett standing katty corner to yours truly at 3am getting groped by only-at-3am-and-several-cocktails brand co-eds.

And how did I know it was Mr. Hartnett? Well, let's rewind to earlier in the morning, or the previous morning at that point... actually about 24 hours earlier to the hour. Having my strange brand of insomnia rear it's head I was up at about 4am without a chance of going to sleep so I headed downstairs to watch some TV and either catch up on the DVR backlog or fall asleep on the couch. When I turned the television on, it was on FOX owing to the fact that the previous evening I had checked the baseball score before heading up to bed for what would eventually be a short lived sojourn. Anyhoo, this insipid little program "Fox and Friends" or something is on and the insipid bimbo and mimbo are interviewing Hartnett. That's right, you knew it was all coming together like that, didn't you? And what, might you ask, were these three powerhouses of culture and politics talking about at that early hour? Don't ask me why, but they were discussing facial hair, which I hear is making a comeback, although Herr Hartnett has little-to-none. I shit you not.

All kind of perfect -- not as perfect as watching 3 musicians play like Benevento/Mathis/Barr or 4 play like Bernstein/Krauss/Weston/Scherr, but perfect nonetheless.

22 October 2007

Photos of the Week

Been a while since I've shared some Q with you, so here is some falling-off-the-bone goodness from this weekend's smoke.

Rubbed and ready pre-cook with the smoke wood -- went with maple this time around.

Five hours at 250 degrees Fahrenheit later, sauced with some Dinosaur Honey Garlic for add some homemade frenchfries from the d.f.f round out one helluva tasty meal if I may say so myself.

21 October 2007

Shows of the Week

CMJ hangover, I know I've got one... still plenty of good pickin's.

Enjoy!

Click here for upcoming shows

Monday:
*Hendrix Experience @ Beacon Theater
Morrissey @ Hammerstein Ballroom

Tuesday:
Sinead O Connor @ Beacon Theater
The Shins (Vetiver opens) @ Terminal 5
Greg Osby Duo et al @ Jazz Standard (early/late)
Stars @ Music Hall (Brooklyn)
*Will Bernard/Ches Smith & Friends @ The Stone (early)
Morrissey @ Hammerstein Ballroom
Pat Metheny/Christian McBride @ Bergen PAC (Englewood, NJ)
Erik Lawrence & Hipmotism @ The Stone (late)
Queen Latifah @ Highline Ballroom

Wednesday:
Adam Levy & Friends (CD release) @ Banjo Jim's
The Shins @ Terminal 5
*New Pornographers @ Webster Hall
Mario Pavone Project @ The Stone (early)
Chana Rothman @ Mercury Lounge (early)
Danilo Perez Trio @ Jazz Standard (early/late)
Joan As Policewoman @ Cake Shop

Thursday:
Bon Jovi @ Prudential Center (Newark, NJ)
DJ Le Spam & the Spam All Stars @ SOB's
Danilo Perez Trio @ Jazz Standard (early/late)
Donny McCaslin/Ben Monder @ 55 Bar (late)
New Pornographers @ Webster Hall
*Afroskull, Van Davis @ Ace of Clubs
Elvis Costello @ Beacon Theater
The Bravery @ Fillmore
Apfelbaum/Bernard/Phelps/Rojas

/Brown @ The Stone (late)
MK Groove Orchestra et al @ Southpaw (Brooklyn)
Chuck Mackinnon Mactet @ Lucille's

Friday:
*Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra @ The Stone (early/late)
Drive-By Truckers @ Bowery Ballroom
Ryan Montbleau Band @ Knitting Factory
Ralph Stanley @ Tarrytown Music Hall (Tarrytown)
Danilo Perez Trio @ Jazz Standard (early/late)
The Moonlighters @ Barbes (Brooklyn)

Saturday:
*Drive-By Truckers @ Music Hall (Brooklyn)
The Go! Team @ Bowery Ballroom
Jens Lekman @ Webster Hall
Ben Perowksy solo @ The Stone (early)
Sounds of Greg D @ Googie's Lounge
Rashied Ali Quintet @ Jazz Standard (early/late)
Perpetual Groove @ Blender Theater
Will Bernard @ Blue Note (midnight)
Ralph Stanley et al @ Town Hall
Briggan Krauss Tactics Sever @ The Stone (late)
Care Bears on Fire et al @ The Annex

Sunday:
*The Go! Team @ Studio B (Brooklyn)
Rashied Ali Quintet @ Jazz Standard (early/late)
Jens Lekman @ Music Hall (Brooklyn)
Stephane Wrembel @ Barbes (Brooklyn)
Marcus Rojas solo @ The Stone (early)


Click here for upcoming shows

18 October 2007

minimix: F.Art.S Vol. 6.1

There are good guitarists, there are great ones, and then there is Bill Frisell. My hard drive is littered with Frisellevation so it was a sweet curse to narrow this one down. But instead of limiting myself, I'll do a second part of this next time... which is not to say next week but next time through the rotation. Chew on these for a bit (and enjoy all the badasses Bill calls bandmates) and if you have any requests, recommendations or good BF treats to share, by all means.

Click here to download the mix

Enjoy!

01 When You Wish Upon A Star -- Petra Haden And Bill Frisell (2003)
02 [unknown title] -- Frisell, Baron, Driscoll: 11 May 1995 (1995)
03 Rambler -- Ginger Baker Trio: Going Back Home (1994)
04 White Fang -- Bill Frisell: Unspeakable (2004)
05 Graveyard Shift -- Naked City: 9 Oct 1988 (1988)
06 Hard Rain's Gonna Fall -- Bill Frisell: 2 July 2005 (2005)

Previously in minimix:
Scott Metzger
Jimmy Herring
Mike Gordon
Marc Ribot
Bela Fleck

Links of the Week

Links/rambling mashup today...

Another one of those weeks. I am incredibly aggravated these days two main reasons. 1 -- I can't find my (relatively expensive, prescription) sunglasses and have no freakin' clue where they are; 2 -- [Mac owners cover your ears, I don't need your sanctimony] our computer crashes, on average, every 10 minutes. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Anyhoo, some more loverandomness for ya:

  • Link of the week: send a little NOLA love up the Empire State Building.
  • Found a TV show worth plugging. ABC's Pushing Daisies. There are plenty of things wrong with this show, but at its heart it just makes you happy to watch it. A total alternate universe in the Edward Scissorhands mold, the whimsical production are perfectly pitched. Definitely recommend.
  • The weekly quick YouTube to give you that much needed Thursday chuckle. Turtles!
  • File under what the internet was invented for: fantastic blog when you need a little bit more than a chuckle (h/t ABO).
  • Was happy to see Jenny get some love elsewhere this week.
  • Speaking of Tueday night, in between shows I had some time to kill and some hunger to satiate, so I ate here to round out the Brooklyn experience... even though it was a bit out of the way. Fantastic cheeseburger, an equal to the Shake Shack. They have a lot of accolades on the wall, many of them touting the fries which were good, but nothing I haven't equaled in my fryer at home. I don't fashion myself as much of a foodie, but apparently a freshly cut potato deep fried with some salt sprinkled on it is a novelty worth crooning about. So be it.
  • Do you HopStop? I love it and used it to great effect on Tuesday. The best part is just texting two locations to HOPSTOP and getting detailed info returned to you instantly. We're getting dangerously close to the point where I'm walking down the street and manipulating my phone at the same time so I don't see the little flower bed gate around a tree in the sidewalk and then I walk into it and nearly kill myself but at the very least bruise my shin pretty badly. No wait, we're already at that point, that was another thing I accomplished while out and about this week.
AAARRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

17 October 2007

Review: Jenny Scheinman (3)|Circuitbreaker

(56)

barbes, Brooklyn, 16 October 2007

Ah, sweet residency. It used to be all about Wayne Krantz for me... my entire musicgoing life seemed to revolve around setting myself up to be at 55 Bar on a Thursday night. Although I do not nearly get out as much as I did back in those glory years, Jenny Scheinman, Tuesday evenings in Brooklyn are nearing that kind of spot on my calendar, the kind of thing that just tickles my pickle. So, when it looked like there would actually be a night on the town for me this week, there was no doubt that it would have to be on Tuesday and that all roads would go through Barbes in Park Slope.

This would be my third occasion this calendar year (see dis and dat for background reading) and it's a darn shame I can't get there more often. This week's happening was more of the same incredibleness line-up wise as Jenny had coaxed the incomparable Greg Cohen to play bass for her and two longtime guitar collaborators: Adam Levy and Steve Cardenas. Cohen is "in the conversation" if you know what I mean and really lifted last night's gig to another level.

Scheinman started off the night by saying something about how it was the first time that group of people had played together. I think that's almost always the way with these Tuesday night gigs, the thing that makes them so special YouTube is stocked with cool spots of musicians rehearsing their shit, in-studio tinkering, backstage impromptu duets and the like... we all dig this stuff, no doubt, it's fun to watch... it's even better to watch unfold on stage and every time Jenny Scheinman lumps together some of her friends in the back room of Barbes, it's almost always a brand new page in a brand new book. Some of the stock characters perpetuate, but the plot twists and interactive dialogue are always on-the-spot and always fresh and exciting.

They started off with some Gershwin and dabbled on more than one occasion with some Django pieces and filled in the rest with some magnificent originals, old and new. I've seen Jenny plenty and last night she was as limber and joyful as I've heard her. Some sort of combination of the people and the crowd and I don't know what seemed to infiltrate the musicians with a giddy temper and the mod flowed through the music like sap through a tree. It was loose, but a certain chemistry pervaded. Jenny had a real rapport with both guitar players who have a somewhat similar style. But the intimacy was a of a different level for each -- with Cardenas it felt more like a flirtatious playing of footsie under the table, their notes delicately tiptoeing around each other, building an atmosphere subtly; with Levy it was more like their playing was giving big bear hugs to each other: their music knows each other so well the notes and chords seem to joke around like old friends.

It was really Cohen that made it all stick together, though. It's sometimes sad to watch someone so masterful play music from that intimate proximity -- it makes you realize how so many other musicians you hold in high regard are inferior. Cohen is a musical Don Juan that makes sweet love to whomever he's sharing the stage with. Without flash or attention grabbing Mr GC just knew what to do and most importantly how to do it. There was a moment early on, it may have been that mournful opening Gershwin number when the song was drawing to a close and Greg instinctively pulled out his bow to close out the tune. It was barely a measure of music when he was playing it like that, but it was almost so perfectly placed and timed and played with such perfect emotion that it nonetheless gave me the chills. There were many moments like that.

Oh, yeah, and Jenny kicked ass as well. In fact, just going by her playing alone, I don't think I've seen better output from her like ever. There were some flabbergastingly sweet stretches -- maybe you'd call them solos -- the kind of playing that kind of "oofs" you in your seat. In short, awesome.

I really like the vest.

They took a short break to put the air conditioning on for a few secs and recollect their thoughts. When the band came back they were in full-on loosey-goosey mode, like they had just shared a monster spliff or something, although I'm pretty sure that wasn't the case. The music took it up a notch and just when things were clicking in the next-level category, the clock struck that hour and the room needed to be cleared for the late set. At this point I'd normally be thinking that a few more gigs together and they'll really be otherworldy. But with Scheinman and crew, next time will be someones different and this night will probably exist only in the moment. As it should be.


(57)

Zebulon, Brooklyn, 16 October 2007

The second part of my night brought me up to Williamsburg to Zebulon. For those keeping tack at home, Zebulon :Williamsburg::Barbes:Park Slope. Great room and the second of the "suggested donation" hat passing ticket variety. Nothing like deciding what the music is worth after hearing it. The music was Circuitbreaker, and I'd say it was worth a shekel or two. Circuitbreaker is Rashanim's Jon Madof's new ensemble and it's a shame that you don't know who Rashanim are because they are high on my list of underappreciated heavy hitters in the tri-state area of any religious persuastion. But never mind about that, because the principal players in that band -- Madof on guitar+ Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz on badder-than-bad electric bass and Matthias Kunzli on drums -- are the nucleus of something that's equally as exciting.

The new band adds some sax and keys, a second drummer and two distinctive percussionists to create a big rock-funk-flipped out fusion that's both nothing new and yet pretty wonderful nonetheless. I'd compare them to Electric Masada, but you probably don't listen to them either althouh why the fuck don't you listen to them, like best band ever, possibly (probably?). Anyway, Circuitbreaker is kind of like a baby Electric Masada... which is to say a sweeter, kinder, softer-skinned , cuddlier version. While the talent couldn't possibly compete (yet, at least), they make up for it with a pure combination of viciousness and listenability. This band can rip to shreds, but they won't lose you at any moment.

So, the sound is a heady ratatoiulle of electric Miles, mid 70's Santana, Fela Kuti et al -- that is, deep afrobeat-inspired, funked up dance-and/or-wig-out music... all this, I should add, making do with very little of the Jewish/Masada vibe that Rashanim pulls off quite nicely. Madof brings to it his own version of improv-directing that John Zorn either invented or perfected or both. This was the weaker portion of the show in my opinion -- not something to discard, but to be filed under "needs improvement." They started off grooving and Jon kind of directed traffic ably, but it somewhat stifled the final product a bit. As things went on, he loosened up, the band tightened and they were able to just feel the groove without too much direction whatsoever. By the end they were do-no-wrong territory and you could just feel the potential potent sickness of the thing. There is very little in the way of fresh, new high level jam music being made these days and Circuitbreaker might just have the goods.

The magic weapon to me is Blumenkranz who is a player through and through. Last time I saw him, he was crafting beautiful magic out of some Zorn Masada pieces. Tuesday night he was all about the nasty filthy electricity on the bass guitar. Goodness me, that's some deep, dark shit he was playing. Madof was gracious all around, giving plenty of room to his bandmates who range from adequate filler material to definite keepers. But when the time came and the music needed to enter take-no-prisoners mode, he didn't hesitate to lock in and just flat-out shred.

I highly recommend checking these guys out should they start gigging at all regularly... which is something I would hope they will do -- think about a residency, folks, a weekly gig would do everyone a world of good. Just ask Jenny Scheinman.

14 October 2007

Shows of the Week

Duuuude, yo, bro... CMJ Fest is upon us. There's no way I could unlock my jaw wide enough to get around everything going on this week, but I've done my best. Many listings below are showcase type events, so you've been warned. Still, plenty of goodies to be had before the dang hippies go home.

Enjoy!

Click here for upcoming shows

Monday:

Kelly Clarkson @ Beacon Theater
Boyz II Men @ BB King's
Adam Rogers @ 55 Bar
Oz Noy Trio @ BItter End

Tuesday:
Jenny Scheinman/Adam Levy @ Barbes (Brooklyn) (early)
*Circuitbreaker @ Zebulon (Brooklyn) (late)
John Scofield Trio @ Blue Note (early/late)
Shanir Blumenkranz Group @ The Stone (early)
Most Serene Republic, Dean & Britta et al @ Bowery Ballroom
Regina Spektor @ Hammerstein Ballroom
Vishal Vaid/Karsh Kale @ Joe's Pub (early/late)
Kelly Clarkson @ Beacon Theater
Care Bears on Fire et al @ Crash Mansion

Wednesday:
Earl Scruggs @ BB King's
Bruce Springsteen @ Madison Square Garden
Mates of State @ Joe's Pub (midnight)
Meat Puppets @ Lion's Den
Matt Munisteri & Brock Mumford @ The Stone (early)
Mickey Hart's Global Drum Project @ Highline Ballroom
Billy Bragg, Steve Earle et al @ Webster Hall (benefit)
Experience Hendrix Tour @ Beacon Theater
Oliver Mtukudzi & Black Spirits @ SOB's
Oh No Oh My, Holy Fuck et al @ Galapagos (Brooklyn)
*Adam Levy & Friends (CD release) @ Banjo Jim's
The Head Set et al @ Bitter End
Tony Scherr & Friends @ The Stone (late)
Robbers on High St., Rosewood Thieves et al @ Mercury Lounge
John Scofield Trio @ Blue Note (early/late)
Care Bears on Fire et al @ Club Midway (afternoon)

Thursday:
Stars @ Town Hall
Meat Puppets @ Maxwell's (Hoboken)
St. Vincent et al @ Knitting Factory
Mates of State @ The Annex
*Catfish Haven et al @ Southpaw (Brooklyn)
John Scofield Trio @ Blue Note (early/late)
The Dirtbombs, et al @ Mercury Lounge
Paul Shapiro & Midnight Minyan @ The Stone (early)
Beat the Devil et al @ Crash Mansion
Phonograph et al @ Fontana's
Wycleaf Jean @ SOB's
The Giraffes, Beat the Devil et al @ Galapagos (Brooklyn)
Bruce Springsteen @ Madison Square Garden
Doug Wamble/Ben Allison/Matt Wilson @ The Stone (late)
Gods & Monsters @ Tap Bar (late night)

Friday:
Mates of State @ Joe's Pub (early)
Marco Benevento and Friends @ Joe's Pub (midnight)
The Mammals @ Tarrytown Music Hall (Tarrytown)
Umphrey's McGee @ Nokia Theater
Rodrigo y Gabriela @ Roseland Ballroom
John Scofield Trio @ Blue Note (early/late)
Yo La Tengo @ Landmark (Port Washington, LI) (benefit)
UMELT @ Mexicali Blues (Teaneck, NJ)
Marco Benevento @ Rockwood Music Hall (3:30pm)
The Dirtbombs et al @ Southpaw (Brooklyn)
Illinois et al @ Club Midway
Michael Blake w/ S. Bernstein, C. Weston, M. Rojas @ The Stone (early)
Spank Rock, Earl Greyhound, Noisettes et al @ Fillmore
Ghostland Observatory @ Webster Hall
*The Broken West et al @ Mercury Lounge
Sex Mob (w/ Calvin Weston) @ The Stone (late)

Saturday:
Umphrey's McGee (Tragedy opens) @ Nokia Theater
*Spoon @ Roseland Ballroom
Billy Bragg @ The Concert Hall
Band of Horses @ Bowery Ballroom
John Scofield Trio @ Blue Note (early/late)
Charlie Burnham @ The Stone (early)
Burnt Sugar et al @ Crash Mansion
Jennifer Hartswick (CD release) @ Blue Note (midnight)
Charlie Daniels Band @ BB King's
Calvin Weston @ the Stone (late)
Matt & Kim et al @ Music Hall (Brooklyn)
Burnt Sugar @ Zebulon (Brooklyn)
Cowboy Junkies @ Zankel Hall
The Dirtbombs @ Maxwell's (Hoboken)

Sunday:
*Legends of Bulgarian Wedding Music @ Symphony Space
John Scofield Trio @ Blue Note (early/late)
Peck Allmond Group @ The Stone (late)
Edom @ Zebulon (Brooklyn) (late)

Click here for upcoming shows

11 October 2007

minimix: Tinselitis.3

This mix probably won't get nominated for any Oscars, but sifting through some more music from the movie and ending up with a truly bizarre little mix of songs here. Short and quite possibly sweet, depending on your tastes (i.e. the Junior Mints of minimix). Enjoy!

Download the mix

01 The Treatment -- John Zorn: Filmworks XVIII: The Treatment (2006)
02 Sparkplug Minuet -- Mark Mothersbaugh: The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
03 Hey Now -- Talking Heads: True Stories (1986)
04 Nose Punch -- John Lurie: Get Shorty (1995)
05 Penultimatum -- Jamie Saft: Murderball (2005)
06 O Death -- Ralph Stanley; O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

Previously in minimix:
Tinselitis.2
Tinselitis.1

Links of the Week

Sorry no review yesterday, but you know what? There's been nothing to review, goddamnit! I'm going to try and change that, but who knows... here's a what-to-watch version of the links.

I guess I can "review" the season premier of the thank-God-it's-back Friday Night Lights from last week. My biggest fear from last year, even when I was singing its praises, was that they'd exhaust every conceivable interesting plot line in the first season just trying to keep the show alive that they'd have nothing left for subsequent seasons. Without spoiling anything from Friday's episode, it's quite possible that this is the case. But that was still some damn good television, nonetheless and I'll remain a faithful fluffer of FNL until otherwise persuaded.

I'm still wading through some DVR action, but haven't found too much to get excited about that's new this year. I've found "Chuck" to be cheeseball enjoyable and am looking forward to checking out "Pushing Daisies" when I get the chance, but otherwise I'm sticking with the bread and butter that got me through last year's television diet. What have you got for me? What should I be giving a chance to?

On to the links...

What have you got for me?

09 October 2007

Photo of the Week

The important thing to note is that this is not a picture of me enjoying Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem and Blonde Redhead on a wonderfully mild evening at Randall's Island this past Saturday. In fact, quite the opposite.... arrrgh!

07 October 2007

Shows of the Week

Enjoy!

Click here for upcoming shows

Monday:
*Benzos et al @ Mercury Lounge
Non-Static @ Mo Pitkin's
Oz Noy Trio @ Bitter End
Roy Nathanson @ Bowery Poetry Club
Jennifer Lopez/Marc Anthony @ Madison Square Garden

Tuesday:
John Mayall + Dave Mason @ BB King's
Nona Hendryx @ Joe's Pub (midnight)
Jaik Miller Band @ LUV 24/7
Kid Rock @ Fillmore
*Aaron Goldberg Trio @ Jazz Standard (early/late)
Howard Fishman @ Joe's Pub (early)

Wednesday:
Jason Isbell @ Bowery Ballroom
John Mayall + Dave Mason @ BB King's
Earlimart, Office @ Knitting Factory
Black Mountain et al @ Mercury Lounge
Aaron Goldberg Trio @ Jazz Standard (early/late)
PJ Harvey @ Beacon Theater
*Adam Levy & Friends (CD release) @ Banjo Jim's
The Raveonettes @ Southpaw (Brooklyn)
Country Joe McDonald @ Joe's Pub (early)

Thursday:
*!!! @ Webster Hall
Tori Amos @ WaMu Theater
ALO, The Brakes @ Bowery Ballroom
Apples in Stereo @ Music Hall (Brooklyn)
The National (St. Vincent opens) @ Terminal 5
Ben Allison @ Jazz Standard (early/late)
The Raveonettes @ Maxwell's (Hoboken)
Jamie McLean Band @ Mercury Lounge
Black Mountain @ Southpaw (Brooklyn)

Friday:
Ben Allison @ Jazz Standard (early/late)
*Budos Band, Brooklyn Qawwali @ Highline Ballroom
Architecture In Helsinki @ Studio B (Brooklyn)
Van Morrison @ United Palace Theater
The National @ Music Hall (Brooklyn)
The Mother Hips @ Mercury Lounge
Project/Object @ Lion's Den
Papa Mali @ Mexicali Blues (Teaneck, NJ)
Tony Malaby w/ B. Monder, E. Opsvik, N. Waits @ Cornelia St. Cafe
Fionn Regan @ Mercury Lounge (early)
Afroskull (10 year ann. show) @ Parkside Lounge
Gent Treadly @ Flannery's
The Raveonettes @ Bowery Ballroom
Fionn Regan @ Blender Theater

Saturday:
Boyz II Men @ BB King's
The National (Elvis Perkins opens) @ Music Hall (Brooklyn)
Ben Allison @ Jazz Standard (early/late)
Of Montreal @ Roseland Ballroom
*Yonder Mountain String Band @ Fillmore
Charlie Hunter Trio @ Mercury Lounge (late)
Queens of the Stone Age @ WaMu Theater
Van Morrison @ United Palace Theater
Fionn Regan @ Mercury Lounge (early)
EOTO @ Lion's Den
John Hollenbeck's Claudie Quintet @ Cornelia St. Cafe
Porcupine Tree @ Beacon Theater
Meshell Ndegeocello @ Hiro Ballroom
Hot Hot Heat @ Webster Hall
The Mother Hips @ Union Hall

Sunday:
Charlie Hunter Trio @ Southpaw (Brooklyn)
Van Morrison @ United Palace Theater
Ben Allison @ Jazz Standard (early/late)
Corn Mo et al @ Mercury Lounge
Kelly Clarkson @ Beacon Theater
*Zorn/Bernstein/Baptista/Wolleson/Blumenkranz et al @ The Stone (early/late)

FREE BuzzUniverse @ Washington Square Park
They Might Be Giants @ Columbia University
Tragedy @ Blender Theater
Ricky Martin @ Madison Square Garden

Click here for upcoming shows