Tuesday, April 27, 2010

It's the Final Countdown....

In 24 hours I will be seeing Kermit Ruffin's playing in the French Quarter...

 then I will probably eat some of his BBq....

Oh man I am so pumped I barely slept last night, and I am sure I won't tonight.

Laissez les bon temps roule!!!!
Here is a good round up that Hidden Track did for the first weekend of Jazzfest:

Monday, April 26, 2010

Dead and the Neville's Part 3

 I was originally going to end this series of the Dead and the Neville's with the classic New Years Eve show from 1987 that was released officially as the movie "Ticket to New Years Eve", (Here is Bill Graham's entrance from that night and a bit of "Hell in a Bucket" from the fella's)

However the archive doesn't support commercial releases, even audience recordings, so I am throwing a mini curve ball here with the second set from 12-16-1986 right at ya:

This show is part of a special run of concerts that saw the band do a legitimate 180 in their career.  Spring/Summer of '86 left a lot of fans wanting as performances and inspiration seemed to be running dry with the fellas.  Then Jerry fell into his diabetic coma for 5 days and the experience changed his life, here's how he explained it: 

"Well, I had some very weird experiences. My main experience was one of furious activity and tremendous struggle in a sort of futuristic, space-ship vehicle with insectoid presences. After I came out of my coma, I had this image of myself as these little hunks of protoplasm that were stuck together kind of like stamps with perforations between them that you could snap off."
Weird indeed, after having to re-learn the guitar and clean up some his notoriously bad habits he had enough strength to book these shows some 6 months post coma, pretty impressive, and even more so when you hear the playing.

This was the second show back on stage and from the tripped out playing it seems like they were not missing a beat, in fact they sound better then they had pre-Jerry breakdown.

The second set here is freaky fun, starting with the rarely played "Box of Rain" after being gone out of the setlists for over 10 years, the band brought it back in the spring of 86 and it sounds excellent here as Phil gets the opening vocal duties.  "Crazy Fingers" comes next and this is a tune I always forget how much I enjoy until I hear it.  Nothing earth shattering on display, but the grace and ease with which the fret runs flow, prove that Jerry was back in fighting shape.  "Estimated Prophet"  lets Bobby get wacky with echoes but really becomes intriguing around the 9 minute mark, with an amplified Brett coloring excellently while Garcia solos on his own, not the smoothest version, but an adventurous listen.  While the "Estimated" grew on me, the following "Eyes of The World" was odd from the get-go, super speedy, Speed Racer chaotic even.  In it comes, twinkles around a bit and is gone...it is almost as if the band wanted to get the Neville's on stage and start banging those "Drums".
  This is a fun drum jam, and even though it is 11 minutes, it doesn't get too boring as far as drum solo's go, which I grant you aren't the most exciting things in the world.  When the band comes back on stage they are joined by the Brother's Neville and start throwing down some "Willy and The Hand Jive"  written and recorded by Johnny Otis.

Tonight's version keeps the echoe-y Bobby and Art Neville's vocals, but adds a ton of strutting funk to the mix, a cool rarity from the two groups on stage.
The Neville's stick around to help out on a quick and exciting "Iko Iko", before letting the Dead end their set with a powerful "Stella Blue" and the "Sugar Magnolia>Sunshine Daydream" combo that must have gotten the crowd fired up with it's tropical feel lead by Brent.

The Neville's return to close the show on a high note with an bumping Steve Cropper/Wilson Pickett encore "In The Midnight Hour".     

The Dead and the Neville's had a healthy respect for each other and provided some great sonic moments on stage, as I mentioned in my first post on the subject, both bands experienced career renaissances around the same time and helped each other broaden their collective fanbases.  It was a healthy relationship and a fruitful one....so take some time and enjoy these two titans of American Music.  

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Going beyond the music at Jazzfest

Sure the music kicks total arse in New Orleans especially at Jazz Fest time, but there is oooh so much more to this town... From the pirate ghosts that have haunted Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop
 for centuries now, to the local artists and sculptors that fill the eyes with excellent images, yet there is also one MAJOR component that makes this town vital that I haven't hit on yet....The Food.
 I gotta give it up to my main amigo Jeff for really pushing this aspect on me during our Jazzfest trips.  On previous excursions to the city (mostly around Halloween) I was content to feast on huge Oysters, simple Po'Boys and the occasional Gator or Crawfish medley.  Jeff made it his mission to push me out of my comfort zone with food and for that, I thank him..
 We constantly are seeking out new joints amongst the endless array of local cuisine that is in this town.  We have a few fun spots that we always try to hit up when we are in town...

A lunch at Mothers is always desirable if the lines aren't too long.....

If we can grab reservations at Cochon (Jeff never fails...Boosh!) we will hit that Pork heaven up...and I don't even particularly like the swine, but this place makes me reconsider.

 I like nothing better then oysters, but in complete honesty, NOLA oysters are the least tasty (too big not enough bite) of the many that I have tried....but I will never turn them down...Raw:
 or Fried:
  Oh man, my mouth is watering putting this post together!!!  Anyway, it is not only the amazing resturants, which are too numerous to mention, but the food at the festival itself is unreal.  No $7 weak hot dogs, the fest brings in the local culture better then any other event I have been to.

Take a second to read this article from Ann Maloney, who recaps last years amazing food options (IGNORE the eating healthy video..that is for chumps!).  Follow her this year on twitter, or wait until post festival to see her opinions on this years crop.  Safe to say things will be tasty.
 Some offerings from last years Jazz fest
Dinner....and Desert.

I mean Crawfish Etouffee while watching Spoon?  Check.  Getting extra crawfish dumped in my empty sneaker during Trombone Shorty's set?  Been Done.  What a grand time to be hungry for life....And it is literally DAYS away...I can not wait.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

RTBE Interview with: The Loose Marbles

This will be an on going project of interviews with various artists. Today's guest: Ben Polcer, Trumpeter in The Loose Marbles.

Rock The Body Electric: When and how did The Loose Marbles get started?

Ben Polcer:  The Loose Marbles band technically started in Providence, Rhode Island in 2000..  it was inactive from 2001--2006, then was reborn in NYC under the leadership of Michael Magro (clarinet) and Ben Polcer (trumpet), which it remains today.   It was developed as a street band in Washington Square Park in NYC for a few months in 2006 with Peter Beirhorst (banjo), Jake Sanders (guitar), Peter Ford (box bass), and Rich Levinson (washboard).    In 2007 Michael Magro and Ben Polcer relocated to New Orleans, to play on the streets through the winter.  There we met up with other musicians and dancers (Kiowa Wells-- guitar, Barnabus Jones-- trombone, Jason Jurzak-- tuba/bass, Meschiya Lake-- vocals, Shaye Cohn-- piano, trumpet, Blu Beverage--tuba, Jessie Juice Man-- bass drum, Jon Gross-- tuba, Chance Bushman and Amy Johnson-- dancers, and some others)...

RTBE:  Are there set members or more like a rotating cast of characters?

BP:  The only real set members are Michael Magro and myself.  It is a constant rotating cast of musicians, different on almost every gig..  There are members who play a good majority of the time now though.  They are:  John Rodli-- guitar, Robert Snow-- bass, Shaye Cohn-- piano, trumpet, Barnabus Jones--trombone, Jason Jurzak-- bass, Jon Gross-- tuba.

(Ben playing Trumpet, Piano and Percussion at the same time... not bad)

RTBE:  The band has such a pure Old-time Jazz sound, yet the group is young, how did the authentic tone and sound come about?

BP:  The authentic sound came from various sources.   Michael studied many old New Orleans recordings of George Lewis, Albert Burbank, Bunk Johnson, Jim Robinson, etc, and molded his clarinet playing around that style, and spent some time in New Orleans.  My father is a traditional jazz trumpet player, so I grew up hearing this kind of music at an early age.   We decided to play this 'style' of music, and sought out other musicians who played in that vein...
RTBE:  How much does the city of New Orleans influence you?

BP:  The city of New Orleans has had a huge influence on the band.   This kind of music is very much a part of the culture here in New Orleans, and has offered countless opportunities and inspirations that no other place could have offered.   Even before we came here the music of New Orleans had affected us, through recordings, and live musicians.

RTBE:  You guys seem to have two homes, NOLA and NYC, do you feel there is some sort of connection between the two cities?

BP:  I think that there is a connection between NYC and NOLA, mostly because they are two places where music and more specifically, jazz music are a big part of the culture.   More in NOLA nowadays.  For us, they just happened to be the 2 places where we did a lot of playing, met a lot of musicians, and made many contacts.   Though we live in NOLA, I was raised in NYC, and Michael in Philadelphia.  
RTBE: Is it true you guys try to never charge a cover for your shows?  If so how did this come about and why?

BP:  It is true that we very rarely charge a cover for our shows.   I think it came about because we are at heart a street band, where the music is free.   Though we were not being paid by anyone, we found that if we made music for music's sake, people would give generously to us, and we could make a living off of tips and cd sales alone.   Learning this lesson on the street taught us a lot about not forcing music down people's throats, and not pushing too hard for their money.  We found that the more passive we were in seeking money, the more generous people would be--- and most of the clubs we play at are free to the public, just have to buy a drink.   we like it that way, because music should be for everybody, not just those that can pay a cover charge.

Thanks to Ben for his time.  The Loose Marbles will be playing 3 shows in and around town during Jazzfest, if you are in New Orleans be sure to catch them: 
(Also be sure to just cruise around as you may catch them playing in the streets...their natural habitat) 

I gotta say I was blown away when friends of mine (Ben and KP) brought me to check this group out, it was stunning, they sound like they have been playing this music together for decades and to find that they are a loose knit fellowship of like minded street musicians was shocking.  Just check out my favorite YouTube Clip of the group and try NOT to be blown away...

I rest my case!
Become a fan of theirs on Facebook and try to catch them when they come to your town...or better yet head down to theirs.  

All pictures were taken by RTBE (Thanks Kelli!) at The Loose Marbles 9-17-09 Show at Radegast Biergarten Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

2 New Glide Reviews - Color of Clouds and Untied States

Got 2 new reviews up on Glide today:
Color Of Clouds with Satellite of Love Read it c'here.
and Untied States with Instant Everything, Constant Nothing, check it c'here.  

This is a perfect example of why I love and continue to do this...if you had told me a Brooklyn female fronted trio with a "soft sound" and an art-metal/post-punk band would both send me things to review on the same day, I am sure 9.9 times out of 10 I would have gravitated towards the hard stuff...like my booze.  

HOWEVEA!!!  this was not the case, while both are solid releases, Color of Clouds had a greater positive effect on me personally, perhaps it was the day/week/moment, but I just thought it worked better as a full length, not to mean Instant Everything...was bad.  

They are completly different albums/groups and will probably never be linked again but fans of music can give them a listen, here is a bit of a sample of what each groups have to offer:
First up, Color of Clouds with "Haunts Me"
Now Untied States with "Not Fences Mere Masks":

Feel free to go see them live, buy their albums, listen, and judge for yerselves....

(Sorry this post had nothing to do with NOLA, but back on the Southbound train tomorrow with an exciting Interview.)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dead and the Neville's Part 2

Jumping back into listening/discussing the tag team of San Fran's Hippyest and NOLA's ambassadors brings us to this Monday's Show, and it is from an actual Monday, July 6th 1987 to percise.  Click that link or listen here to the embedded show:

 While the Giants were in town and sweeping the Pirates in a double header, the other San Franciscans were setting up their guitars at the Igloo.
   aptly named.
The Fellas were in the middle of their historic tour backing up Bob Dylan, he was not on the bill this night after having just played with the group on July 4th and would meet up again on the 10th. With Dylan not announced, but rumored to be in attendance, anticipation ran high, but the bard wouldn't emerge this night, in fact this show is probably better off because of it.  I will eventually get into the Dylan and The Dead tour I am sure, but my feelings are mixed on the pairing back in 87, however my feelings aren't mixed on this show...It smokes and The Neville's are just half the reason why, the other half is Jerome John Jerry Garcia.
Garcia 1987
From the opening notes this is a special show, and while everyone raves about the second set (with good reason) some time needs to be spent on the first.  Granted I would give the sound here probably about a 7.5 or 8 out of 10, but you get the crowd love, and the the energy from the boys playing is right there.  The opening "Feel like a Stranger" lets us know that Garcia is really feeling it, his guitar runs backing up Weir's vocals are fluid and funky, just check out the groove he drops into around the 5 minute mark and continues until the end.  Garcia's strumming and picking are sparks in front of some spacey drums from Mickey Hart.  This is a great version and Garcia doesn't want the silky six strings to stop as he goes into the fan favorite "Franklin's Tower".  The singing takes a back seat as "Row Jimmy" continues the top level musicianship on display before one of the coolest "Big River's" shows up.

This cover of the Johnny Cash classic is a staple in the Dead's repetorie, first showing up in 1971 and sticking around until the band stopped in 95.  Here's Johnny's version:

Cavorting in Davenport.
When the Dead covered "Big River" it was usually a short burst of country/polka energy dropped in the middle of the first set.  Here that energy is amped waaaay up, Garcia's picking is fiery and aggressively propelling the tune forward into Brent Mydland's keyboard runs that starts out at 2:30 mark sounding exactly like a fiddle, before dropping into a twinkling workout before another solo from Jerry and the drums of Billy and Mickey race until the tracks conclusion.  One of my favorite versions of this often played tune.

The group rewards Brent's innovative playing with allowing him to belt out "Far From Me" before the set closing trio pays homage to the guests about to come out first, the icon they are touring with second, and their traditional roots with third via "Stagger Lee">"Desolation Row">"Don't Ease Me In".  Throughout this first set Garcia was on point, I will admit there were times especially later in his career, when his amazing guitar playing sounded lazy, everyone has bad off nights...or tours, but this was certainly not one of those...oh yeah on too the 2nd set...

I mentioned my favorite version of the funk/disco Dead with one of my earlier Monday posts, and while that "Shakedown Street" is still my favorite, this version should probably get a mention in the conversation of excellent live performances.  Around the 9:50 mark things get clicked up a notch with some solid fretwork, but the whole version is solid.  It is rollicking groove-fest to kick start the second set, pitch perfect pretty much all over, stuttering drums, simple runs, heavy on vocals (was that a little scat singing by Jerry?) and an alive crowd; a great feeling throughout. "Just Gotta Poke Around..."

A popping "Samson and Delilah" is next before The Neville Brothers come out to help turn the standard "Iko Iko" into a full fledged party, a fantastic version that is getting me smiling while I am replaying it.  The Dead's first ever playing of "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)" followed:

A fun little ditty, before the party flowed into another tune popularized by Harry Belafonte (written by Norman Span) with "Man Smart (Woman Smarter)" which is my favorite calypso cover the group did with regularity, excellent lyrics and fun beats.  The Neville Brothers help out with rhythmic tightness, vocals and some funky arse grooves.

"Drums>Space" kinda destroys the vibe a bit, but the second Dylan cover of the night is an all time classic, with the Neville's supporting, the group kills it with "Knockin' on Heaven's Door", this version is pure boosh one of the best the band has done.  Here is a youtube clip of, you know, another decent cover version:

After the Dylan only thing left to do was rock out with the two night closing rockers "Good Lovin'" with its "LaBamba" licks and Neville rhythmic tinkering before the classic "Johnny B. Goode" which the crew on stage managed to do; Be Good, Powerfully.  The Neville's and The Dead were quite a pair. 

Re-listening to this show you can feel that wild NOLA spirit throughout, even if they were playing in Pittsburgh.  It is in the funkiness of "Shakedown St" or "Feel Like a Stranger", the Mississippi country back water of "Big River" the Partying vibe of "Iko Iko" or the majesty of the "Knockin" or the Rockin' of "Johnny B Goode".  It's all there, and I can't wait to get down to that town.  Enjoy this show...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Holy Hosannah Friday.

Happy Friday...

Mayhaps my favorite guitar player...well this kid is obviously the best, then J, Then Mike.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Album Review - Galactic - Ya-Ka-May

This review is part of the "Over Flow" Review Series. For various reasons these past reviews were not published anywhere else. I am tagging them as "Overflow Reviews" and may add some extra information before or after if needed but will keep the ratings and reviews just as I originally wrote them. Enjoy:

**** out of *****

Named after a New Orleans street dish, Ya-Ka-May is the sound of funk band Galactic trying to capture NOLA music today, as advertised, “this is not your father’s New Orleans album”.  In a sense they have succeed, continuing to blend hip-hop into their patented digital funk sound, but manage to take it a step further then on their last record From the Corner to the Block adding a distinctly New Orleans appeal with the friends they invited, no outsiders here. 

Not all songs sound completed and at times the guests and the band seem to be divided on the direction of tracks but there is a lot here to digest.  Almost a mix-tape in presentation Galactic added such dynamic and varying local guests from Allen Toussaint on the bubbling “Bacchus” to bounce “sissy rapping” stars Katey Red and Sissy Nobby doing their booty shaking thang on “Katey vs. Nobby”.  Just between those two cuts that are sequenced next to each other, you span generations, genres, cultures, and followings, showing just how diverse the NOLA music scene currently is. 

Trombone Shorty pops up and contributes some funky brass blowing on “Cineramascope” while Ryan Scully and Josh Cohen from the now defunct Morning 40 Federation add their boozy charm to “Liquor Pang”, a personal favorite.  Walter “Wolfman” Washington plops a dollop of swampy blues with “Speaks His Mind”, and throughout Galactic do what they do best, play sidemen to the great talents that they gathered for their record.  They support rather then star on their own production, and it works better then on some of their past efforts.

This is the sound of the present day New Orelans, the beautiful thing is that while its history is magnificent the city is constantly changing in its style.  As long as groups like Galactic continue to spread the good word of all types of NOLA sound the town is in great hands, grab a helping of Ya-Ka-May for some salty southern goodness. 

For Booty Shakin' and more click on the jump:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Glide Review: Dumpstaphunk Rebirth Brass

Straight up NOLA with the new Glide review...check it out c'here:!

So these funky bastards are the rage.  I mean legit...next time they come to town, don't run, SPRINT to see them.  There promo crew is here so keep in touch.  There is no better feeling then getting down...exhibit A:

 Turn it up...

 Dumpstaphunk from 2 nights before the show I reviewed...This is a taste of the funk. 3-27-10.

And the Rebirth is Boosh...

IN EXACTLY 2 WEEKS I WILL BE THERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So pumped it hurts!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New Dead Weather and Record Store Day

The Dead Weather have a new album called Sea of Cowards coming out on May 11th, here is the first song released off of it titled "Die By the Drop":

From the titles of tracks and album it sounds like Jackie Boy had some aggression to work out on this one... pounding the drums should be good for that.

I have written about the Dead Weather before a few times, I love Jack and pretty much everything he has done in the last decade, and this seems to be more of the grungy-70's-dark-metal goodness that this particular group specializes in.  Dig the creepy video as well... 

And oh yes, I CAN NOT WAIT to see them on Sunday at Jazz Fest!!!!!!  (will be real weird to catch the leather rockers in the beautiful sun outside though, as this band is clearly a smokey dark dungeon type.)

Also along these lines, Jack and the crew started Third Man Records a while back which reminds me I wanted to take a moment to type about this Saturday, April 17th.  It is National Record Store Day, so go out and buy some Lp's Cd's and DVD's from your local mom and pop record shop. 
Not only will there be good deals on schwag there will be a butt load of in store performances, I may hit up Generation Records to catch some of Cymbals Eat Guitars in-store set, check the list to see whose playing by you. 
Every little bit helps...I will also be out look for some LP's to spin on the new turn table now residing in mi casa...KA-KOW!     

Monday, April 12, 2010

Dead and the Neville's Part 1

The Grateful Dead and The Neville Brothers have been friends since both bands left their indelible marks on American music (both could be considered in the discussion of best American bands, but that is for another bar and another time...)

The Mid to Late 80's found both bands having a re-emergence of sorts, With the Dead releasing their most popular albums and the Neville's rediscovering their artistic voice.  This Monday's show pops up a bit before those high points commercially for both groups but comes on another special day, Mardi Gras 1986.
Today's show is 2-11-1986 you can click that link or listen c'here:

The sound of this recording is a perfect 10 out of 10, you couldn't ask for a more excellent capture of this historic and special night in deadistory.

The first set, and first song, is hotter then a spicy jambalaya.
 The opening "China>Rider" combo offers some intense playing, this is a money version of the popular combo. During "China Cat Sunflower", Phil in particular is all over the place with great bopping and plucking on his bass, taking the tune in new directions Jerry accepts the challenge and the 2 drummer boys start to rev up the engine.  The transition between the two tunes see's Brent catching up but Phil is still driving the train, with Jerry as his co-pilot.  They get the vocals out of the way for "I Know You Rider" and continue the majestic interplay.  I talked about a great China>Rider a Little bit ago and this version is totally different and equally great and probably even more underrated because most Dead fans don't dig on 1986...yet one more example of why this band is special.

After "China>Rider" gets the crowd alive Bobby sings (with quite a bit of echo) about those "East Bay Phillies" in "New Minglewood Blues".  The blues continue with one of my favorite versions of the sparsely played "Dupree's Diamond Blues".  Jerry's voice is struggling (It is 1986), but he gives it his all on this version as the tune shuffles behind him on the classic tale of a man stealing a diamond for his honey...and killing a cop in the process...whoops!

Bobby isn't exactly nailing the vocals either on his duo of "Me And My Uncle" and "Mexicali Blues", standard versions here, but the tempo has obviously been sped up by the band.  "The Bird Song" is noticeably quicker then lazier, more successful versions, making this one a bit unique, Phil also has some loud riffs that mix things up. It seems the band was in a hurry to get out their guest and Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez!

Once the "Drums" hit to start the 2nd set, you can feel the Cajun in the air as The Neville Brothers join the fella's.  "Iko Iko" is fleshed out and the highlight on this night with one of the Neville's trading lead vocals with Jerry, this is a monster version of this fun tune.  Then one of the coolest aspects of this show...a sped up, percussive version of "Eyes of The World" that the Neville's help push along with frantic speed.  It sounds like people are banging on everything available and still keeping time and making things interesting.  I love it when guests push the Dead, especially late in their career when they tended to get in a live comfort zone, song-structure wise.

This leads to another "Drums" with the Brothers, this is a big deal as Dead.net tells me they hadn't done 1 drum solo, let alone 2, since 10-2-1980 which is over 379 shows. These "Drums" possess tons of energy and also get freaky before sonic excursions in "Space", however on this night the drums win the battle.  The Neville's take a break for "Truckin'">"Stella Blue">"Not Fade Away" to end the show, average versions of these tunes, well, a bit below average for Stella with Jerry's Kermit voice in full effect. 

The Neville's rejoin for the Encore and with the crowd's help start back up "Not Fade Away" again before moving into the bands covering "Hey, Bo Diddley" this would be the last time the Dead played this classic standard tune, I am not sure about the Neville's, and while both bands seem to not want the jam to end the Dead really don't give it much of vocal workout...at least not like Daddy: 

As Tom Petty said, "Elvis is King...but Diddley is Daddy!" Indeed...this is intense!  May have to come back to Diddley at another point...Back to the show...

The Night (at least for the paying crowd) closed with a stretched out, organ laced "Going Down the Road Feeling Bad" but it is rumored the jam session lasted until the morning...and with the ease of mixing sounds and styles, it is easy to see why.

EXTRA CREDIT...if you read this far I got something to share...
As a special bonus, the next night's (2-12-1986) opening set by the Neville's was captured and placed on the Archive, go hear to listen to it (you need to scroll down to the end of the Dead set).  It starts with "Fire on The Bayou", and while the quality isn't the best, it is nice to have this for the listen anyhow. I almost posted this show instead today, but thought 2-11 was the better Dead Show...you can be the judge though, and then there is always next week....    

Monday, April 5, 2010

Monday Mardi Gras

Let's continue the April NOLA vibe with this Monday's show...The Grateful Dead and New Orleans have always had a tempestuous relationship, but no one can say the Dead didn't like to party, and Mardi Gras always seemed to bring out the crazy from the Bay Area boy-o's.
Picture is from this actual 2-7-1989 show.
This Monday's show is from Mardi Gras 1989, 2-7-1989 to be percise, click that link or listen right c'here:

The majority of the Mardi Gras Shows the dead performed had some sort of NOLA opener and this year was no exception with Al Rapone and the Zydeco Express opening up the partying. 
fun looking guy
 The Grateful Dead recording is a Sound Board from Charlie Miller, and while not a perfect recording (I think it is a bit tinny) it does capture the energy of the boys and some great late 80's playing, especially with the vocal work on display...how can you not love Brent?!?!
 I always had a soft spot for the late 89/Early 90 shows and the reason is Brent, I think he was the MVP during these runs, with his colorful keyboard fills and amazing vocals, and he starts things off here with Hey Pocky Way!
The Dead covered this tune often during this time period, spreading The Meter's music far and wide.  For those of you who don't own Rejuvenation, go grab it, IMO one of the best American albums ever.
Back to this night in Dead-story though, the "Jack Straw" > "Loser" combo early on is average, Jerry's tired vocals do add to the latters weight, but there are much better versions of both out there.

The coolness creeps back in, via Brent of course, with the first ever version of "Just a Little Light".  One of Mydland's best (are there any bad?) "Just a Little Light" illuminates some of the darkness that was eating Brent up inside at the time, and sadly, shortly before his death.  The song didn't really evolve much (it didn't have much time to) but was a go-to for the boys during Brent's time with the group.  Another Jerry ballad colors the first set with "Standing On The Moon" which I think always worked better towards the end of the show, so while this version is excellently played I am not sure about it's set placement. A tasty "Bird Song" with great interplay about 7 minutes in ends the first set before the Mardi Gras parade runs wild with percussion intro fueled, NOLA tradtional, "Iko Iko", let's let the good Doctor talk on it:

Transitioning into the Dead's most ominous song next may have thrown the boys for a loop as they false start "Victim or The Crime".  Dead fans seem split on this tune, I really enjoy it (granted, this version isn't the best) and will talk about it at length in the future.  Brent comes to the forefront again to start the show closing Segue fest with his most hippy of tunes "We Can Run But We Can't Hide".  His vocally dexterous ode to Mother Earth flows right into a call to "Uncle John's Band".  Mid set UJB's are a lot of fun adding a new dimension of improvisation to the tune and this one is fun, spacey version.  My favorite way to come back to the planet after "Space" has always been "The Wheel" which leads into the very 80's closing of "Throwing Stones" >"Foolish Heart" >"Good Lovin'" is pumping and the "Knocking on Heaven's Door"  encore closes the playing this night with finality, but I am sure the Mardi Gras party lasted much much longer...

Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy Friday

Band of Horses new tune is booshariffic:

I can not wait to hear this full album...and Oh yeah...they are playing at Jazzfest....Disco.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Jazzfest Countdown Part 1

When the first of April rolls around it means only one thing in my brain...it's almost Jazz Fest time, and that ain't no foolin'.
 The Killer and Rebirth 
New Orleans has always had a special place in my heart ever since a friend and I randomly drove there when we graduated back in '01.  I've gone back almost every year since and found there are no other places it like it on earth.  Jazz Fest brings the best out of that town, other people can have Mardi Gras, Halloween is cool, but Jazz Fest is the perfectly spiced Gumbo.
Last years show was amazing, discovering Trombone Shorty for the first time.  Seeing Headliners Spoon and Wilco put on mammoth sets, plus the full on submersion into some of the best city culture on the planet.  Everywhere can be found great people if you try, but Great people seem to be everywhere in NOLA. From the music, to the attitude, to the food, to the weather, to the ghosts...that town is tough to beat.

I find it perfectly timed that HBO decided to do a new series, Treme, based on the City, right before the Festival, while I don't have the channel I will make sure to watch the episodes as soon as I can, here is a preview:

This year anticipation is running high and I am getting giddy just thinking about taking that looong taxi ride from the airport down to the quarter, I will be so amped I could probably run the distance in quicker time....Jazz Fest can't get here fast enough and over the next month I will be posting a variety of things NOLA related, so stay tuned....

NOLA T-Minus 28 Days.