Friday, July 31, 2015

Full Show Friday: The Black Crowes 8/2/08 Newport Folk Fest

We search the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and post them to the site weekly, come back every seven days to help us celebrate Full Show Friday's. These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...This week.. The Black Crowes!
A special show that happened 7 years ago Sunday, The Black Crowes took to the stage at the Newport Folk Fest and played a unique set for them. Lots of Covers, including the opening 2 Dylan numbers are a joy. Some acoustic goodness to mix in with the electric, a joyful and easy romp for this Friday. This is actually our favorite incarnation of the Crowes, with Luther Dickinson on guitar. Pro-Shot, Pro-Sound, setlist below.


0:00:00 - Girl From The North Country
0:04:24 - He Was A Friend Of Mine
0:09:01 - Whoa Mule
0:15:39 - Polly
0:20:47 - Delaney & Bonnie Medley: Poor Elijah/Tribute To Johnson/Things Get Better
0:28:49 - Wiser Time
0:39:33 - Movin' On Down The Line
0:46:52 - Goodbye Daughters Of The Revolution
0:51:52 - Jealous Again
0:57:28 - Oh Josephine
1:05:13 - Thorn In My Pride

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Album Review: Warren Haynes- Ashes and Dust

Warren Haynes
Ashes and Dust
**** out of *****
One of the hardest working singer songwriters out there is Warren Haynes, who has played with a list of world class caliber musicians, from his former Allman Brothers Band stint, to the day job of Gov't Mule to his constant appearances on the Jamband scene. Ashes and Dust is only the third album named after the man proper and comes on the heels of 2011 soul influenced Man In Motion.  

This time out Warren went for a Americana touch recruiting the roots band Railroad Earth to provide backing instrumentation and it becomes immediately clear that this pairing is perfect for the project. The strings are crisp, the lead guitar fits into the fold rather then trying to outshine it, and all sounds come alive through vibrant production. Ashes & Dust was self produced by Haynes and he worked with sound engineer Jim Scott.

The album opens with clear and strong violins for "Is It Me Or You" with Haynes taking an electric slide solo that meshes into the songs break up story. The singers jam roots are brought up in "Coal Tattoo" in which playing in the Angel Band is discussed while "Blue Madiens Tale" stretches out like an acoustic Grateful Dead number.

Fans of Warren's other well known act will gravitate towards "Company Man" with it's Allmans vibe but if anything this tune feels more like an outlier with it's more muscular feel. Tracks like the rollicking "Beat Down The Dust" or the extended "Spots Of Time" (with it's "Help On The Way" nod) roll easier for the players as the songs are tight yet the music free to wander if need be.

"Wanderlust" enters the heavens on Warren's six strings while the run through of Fleetwood Mac's "Gold Dust Woman" (a duet with Grace Potter) takes on an eerie foreboding thanks to Railroad Earths picking and Haynes guitar lines; an affecting cover.  

Haynes has always been a world class singer and guitar player, however at times his lyrics and writing has dipped into cliche or fell flat. This could be from over extension as he wrote tons of songs for all of his different outfits, but the tracks on Ashes and Dust have been accumulating for years. Now they all come together with an acoustic foundation feeling cohesive, deep, nuanced and heartfelt from Haynes.

A track that put that into focus is "New Years Eve" where in the past Warren would have trimmed words he sang or phrases to fit the meter and phrasing, here he opens his heart and lets the words overflow the bars, delivering more passion and resonance with his singing to a lost friendship. That bit of humanity along with the delicate balancing act between Railroad Earth's roots and Haynes polish makes Ashes and Dust a soaring success.        
Super impressed with this disk. We have always loved Warren but more as a performer then song writer, this disk puts his songwriting creditably to the forefront. Railroad Earth deserve credit as well. A really great roots-Americana release. It's a good week for that.

Support the artist here, buy the album here, peep some video below:

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Album Review: Jason Isbell- Something More Than Free

Jason Isbell
Something More Than Free
****and1/2 out of *****
Following a milestone record is never easy and when Jason Isbell released 2013's Southeastern he didn't only redefine his career, he straightened out his life, got married (for the second time) and sober (for the first time). The passion, heartfelt emotion and raw yearning all came clearly through the stripped down songs on Southeastern and Something More Than Free could never live up to it; but when the dust settles it has tried it's damnedest.

The majority of the album has an easy Americana/country feel even if the lyrics are dealing with weighty topics. Keeping producer David Cobb in tow was a wise move and Isbell's backing band, the 400 Unit,  was brought in to add dynamics. The added instrumentation can dilute the intimacy of Isbell's words and singing, oddly at times the production falls flat with the music; for future records a better balance between band and front-man will only elevate the whole product. 

As for the songs themselves opener's "If It Takes a Lifetime" and "24 Frames" could be weepers of the highest degree dealing with broken romances and lives in tatters but the band helps smooth things along so a listener never needs to dig down or think to hard on their/the songs characters problems.

Other numbers like "Flagship" and "The Life You Chose" also roll by easily without leaving too much of an impression other then solid, if unspectacular Americana songs with weighty words/topics and smooth sounds. "Children of Children" raises the emotional stakes by pairing electric rising guitars with Amada Shires exploring fiddle while "How To Forget" actually switches up to a light airy feeling which doesn't match the lyrical matter being sung about and it is possible that listeners could be disappointed at that point. The trick here is the disk is back loaded, saving it's best tracks for its second half. 

It really kicks you in the teeth with the title track. The loneliness and straight ahead drive is encapsulating, dealing with the struggles of day to day living, spirituality, emptiness and politics all in poetic fashion over strings, a moving rhythm section and flowing guitars. A title track for the ages and one that the likes of Bruce Springsteen should look to for inspiration. While Isbell has been compared to lots of singers (Rick Danko) and songwriters (Steve Earle) it is The Boss that Isbell seems to be working closest to, swapping out the New Jersey Shore rock shimmy for Alabama Pines Americana/country everyman.

That vibe continues in "Speed Trap Town" which takes the small town living dynamic to its stark degree shining via depressing clarity and lonesome guitar lines. "Hudson Commodore"  tells family stories from the escapism of the road while "Palmetto Rose" brings on some boogie-woogie southern swing to the mix. The closing track is a ode to one of his favorite bands Centro-Matic but the history isn't as important as the feeling of thanks that emanates from it, also the piano and feedback driven guitars help out immensely.      

While not possessing the same personal/emotional impact of Southeastern, or the musical power of his Drive-By Trucker songs, Something More Than Free still does the job of cementing Isbell as one of the best singer/songwriters active today. The mini movies and brokenhearted tales that incorporate his world are vibrant, alive, desperate and yearning all while he personally remains in great emotional shape. 
Love Jason, thought the last album was one of the best of the year, happy to have recently caught him live.

Support the artist here, buy the album here and peep some video below:

Monday, July 27, 2015

Dylan Cover #195 TJ McFarland "From A Buick 6"

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune is a live performance by TJ Mcfarland doing a cover of "From A Buick 6"

Thoughts on Original:
From the first time we reviewed a cover of this tune:
The electric Dylan and one of the few songs where the Band Bob played with overshadows his early talents. Namely Al Kooper on organ and the great Mike Bloomfield on guitar as the two rip it open.  Bob is in a lighter mood and recalling old blues tunes like "Milk Cow Blues" but he also has a stream of consciousness appeal to the lyrics. Nowhere near one of his best, but one that lots of musicians like to cover because of it's kick ass blues rock feel.   

Thoughts on Cover Artist:
I have not heard of TJ Mcfarland before listening to this live cover. Turns out her is a singer songwriter living in Nashville. You can check out his Reverb Nation page here.
Thoughts on Cover:
This one has balls and muscle. A blues rip that owes a bit more to Jack White then say Bob Dylan, but it has a great sound and feel. Just a duo McFarland pumps on the electric axe while Aaron Hess plays drums. This is a doozy of a way to kick off the week.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Full Show Friday: Living Color 1992

We search the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and post them to the site weekly, come back every seven days to help us celebrate Full Show Friday's. These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...This week...Living Color!

We are going back to 1992 this week with a full show from Living Color. Pro Shot, Pro Sound, setlist below. Enjoy:

0:00 Time's Up
3:32 Pride
10:49 Intro - (Open letter...)
13:08 Open letter to a landlord
18:12 Love rears its ugly head
22:51 Desperate People
27:03 Elvis is Dead
32:33 Type
38:17 Cult of Personality ( Cut )
41:06 Rebel Rebel (David Bowie cover)
47:35 Should I Stay or Should I Go? (The Clash cover)
51:00 Will Calhoun Drum Solo
54:50 Solace of You

Thursday, July 23, 2015

New Yuck Song, Free NYC Show Coming 8/6

We have covered and enjoyed the English based band Yuck since they started out and instantly identified with their Dinosaur Jr. noiserock sound.

While we weren't in love with their lineup change or softer sound last EP, the new song seems to add a bit more punch to the formula, it is called "Hold Me Closer" and you can hear it below:

The band also announced they will be playing a free show in a few weeks as part of the Hudson River Rocks Series.
The show will be on Aug 6th on Pier 84. We hope to make it out to check out the band then. You should as well. Here is an old live favorite of ours:

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Album Review: Galactic- Into The Deep

Hey all got a new review up @glidemag which you can read Right C'here!!!
The NOLA funkers are back with loads of special guests (as always) and put together a solid album. Personally we liked Carnivale Electricos better and our favorite album from them is Ya-Ka-May which we wrote about for the day job.

This one is totally solid though. A funky album that hits some real high notes. None higher then "Right On". As always support the band here, buy the album here, catch them live here, and peep some video below:

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Live Review: 4 Knots Festival 2015

Hey all got a new review up @bullettmedia which you can read Right C'here!!!
It was a gorgeous day for music on NYC Westside and it was just as nice to review the show. It is our first piece for Bullett and we are grateful to our friend Mike and the Press Here PR team for giving us the opportunity to cover the event.

The review covers our feelings on things (keep clicking it for some love)  so peep some video below.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Dylan Cover #194 Ben O'Neill "Shelter From The Storm"

n this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune is a live cover by Ben O'Neill of the Dylan tune "Shelter From The Storm"

Thoughts on Original:
From the first time we tackled a cover version:
An epic track, feeling simple and etched in history at the same time. Religious overtones, passionate asides all mix within the confines of the illustrious/mysterious "She" who is bringing us all in. A gorgeous song and one of my favorite odd phrases Dylan has ever recorded, "Hunted like a crocodile/Ravaged in the corn".  I have no idea what it is supposed to mean and I don't care, it is perfect.  One thing that may bring this one down a peg overall is the connection to another great song "Up To Me" which is basically the same tune...hearing one always makes me want to hear the other.  

Thoughts on Cover Artists:
Ben O'Neill and company are new to us, but it seems he is a singer songwriter from Philly. More info on his facebook page here.
Thoughts on Cover:
A really crisp and clean rendition of the song that moves along and really cooks with the brush work on snare drum. Not much different from the original, but a clean astute offering and a nice way to start Monday.  

Friday, July 17, 2015

Full Show Friday: Curtis Mayfield Live at Ronnie Scott's

We search the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and post them to the site weekly, come back every seven days to help us celebrate Full Show Friday's. These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...This week...Curtis Mayfield!
This is a great show recorded in 1988 for a live album of the same title. It is a great snapshot of an artist who was taken too soon, Curtis Mayfield. This show recorded in 1988 at London's Ronnie Scott's in Soho and it focuses on Mayfields Impressions songs and solo material. 
Highlights are "People Get Ready" "Pusherman" and "Move On Up". After yesterdays review I thought we could use some old school funky stuff for Friday. This show is pro-shot with pro-sound the setlist is beloow, so Enjoy:
1 Little Child Running Wild
2 It's Alright
3 People Get Ready
4 Pusherman
5 Freddie's Dead
6 I'm So Proud
7 Billy Jack
8 We've Gotta Have Peace
9 Move on Up
10 To Be Invisible

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Live Review: George Clinton and Parliment Funkadelic 7/3/15 NYC

George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic
7/3/15 Governors Island Beach Club, NYC

Sometimes you catch magic out an aging legend. I can still recall the time in 2005 Bob Dylan played an simply jaw dropping version of "Visions of Johanna" at the Beacon Theater. With my friend Tom in attendance we were both astounded at an otherwise ordinary show Bob had dug deep and played a song for the ages, specifically singing like he hadn't sang in years. It was proof that legends are legends for reasons and have magic in their songs.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Album Review: Veruca Salt- Ghost Notes

Veruca Salt
Ghost Notes
**and1/2 out of *****

On the opening "Gospel According To Saint Me" the lyric "Kick open the door/Surprise Surprise" rings especially true because In one of the more surprising reunions the original members of Veruca Salt have come back together to release a full length title Ghost Notes, a poppy mid-90's looking offering.

Main co-front women Louise Post and Nina Gordon along the rhythm section of Jim Shapiro and Steve Lack started playing together in 1993 and really hit the big time with 1994's "Seether" off of American Thighs. While Post has continued to play as the band with various other members the originals are back at it on Ghost Notes, a long 14 track return to their roots.   

In the alt-rock heyday "Seether" had a distinct female twist on the many boy bands flannel-ing it up at the time. Here the tracks fall right into that positive sounding grunge style, even when describing what sounds like a songwriter being cheated on in "Prince of Wales". The oh-oh's and fuzzy guitars are more sunshiny then angst ridden and muddy. 

Lyrically there isn't a lot of staggering lines as most sentences revolve around relationship push and pulls of holding on ("Sound of Leaving") or moving on ("Black and Blonde"). The title of the opener gave me high hopes that VS would tackle the individualistic/narcissistic society trends of today, but it wasn't to be. "Museum of Broken Relationships" sums up most of the lyrical terrain covered here simply in its title.  

"Laughing In The Sugar Bowl" pumps up the energy into a pop-punk tempo for a first single while "Empty Bottle" slows it right back down with guitars and bass lines talking to each other in measured steps before the band explodes for a full out assault about halfway through the almost 6 minute track. Big drum beats signal a groovy "Come Clean, Dark Thing" with a smirk and swagger.  

The best combo of the bands upbeat hard rock/pop style is found on "Eyes On You" with its double guitar flourish in front a bombastic bass/drum and "I'm Telling You Now" with a shaking back beat and defiant vocal/guitar work that reminds you that the band is still here. There isn't anything approaching a new sound, but that isn't the plan on Ghost Notes, it is a clear try to return to the groups heyday. 
Can still remember buying the CD of American Thighs when it first came out and really digging on it. Good to see the group back together.

Support the artist here, buy the album here and peep some video here:

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Titus Andronicus Offer Free MixTape

With the NJ based punk band Titus Andronicus huge rock opera The Most Lamentable Tragedy a few weeks away the band has graciously offered a free mixtape for fans to download or stream below:
Maybe they took the title from Lil Wayne, but the music is Titus in it's fullest with live cuts, demos, rehearsals and outtakes from the upcoming TMLT. The first track and last track are also long noiserock instrumentals that build and drone if that is your kind of thing, it certainly is ours. (if not feel free to skip it for more commonly formed punk tunes). 

We have enjoyed the band greatly in the past, and did not rank their fantastic album The Monitor high enough in our year end review of 2010. The band and especially Patrick Stickles has a lot to say, all the time, but especially when it comes to this album. In fact Patrick, already released the lyrics and all their references himself on Genius so fans can have a guide to TMLT

We are looking forward to this one and hope to catch the band live when they come back to town in October. Here is a video to the banging "Dimed Out", of course complete with official lyrics, from their upcoming TMLT.  

Monday, July 13, 2015

Dylan Cover #194 Tom Jones "What Good Am I?" Live

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune comes from Tom Jones and is a live cover of "What Good Am I?" 
Thought's on Original:
From the first time we tackled a cover of this song:
Coming on the heels of Dylan's most powerful song in decades "What Good Am I?" can get lost on Oh Mercy, but the track is a sorrowful sweet plea. Slow and deliberate, questioning like the Louisiana night that may have inspired it. Dylan's vocal performance may not be his best but at the heart of it this is a really powerful song.  Not one of his better known tracks, but a goodie all the same. Simple and slow, direct without hidden agenda's (I think) all of which is a bit unique for Bob.

Thoughts on Cover Artist:
I have never been a Tom Jones fan and really haven't listened to him, well, ever.   
Thoughts on Cover:
Not going to lie, this kinda blew me away. Nothing much here besides the lyrics and his voice and wow...I may need to go revisit Tom Jones catalog as this is some excellent singing. Not showy or flashy, just heartfelt and even soulful from a live show in 2013. One of the more surprising covers we have encountered in this series. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Full Show Friday: Willie Nelson Woodstock '99

We search the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and post them to the site weekly, come back every seven days to help us celebrate Full Show Friday's.  These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...This week...Willie Nelson!
This week on the site RtBE had some hip hop, dirty metal, art and folk so how about some of the best country songs by one of the all-time American crooners to finish up the first full week of July?

Willie Nelson playing at Woodstock 99 is the soothing slave for this summer Full Show Friday. Willie's voice is an American treasure and his songs have become so standard they may have even slipped into the underrated category.  We have seen him a few times and have enjoyed every damn one, but had never seen Jody Payne sing back up with him before, so this show is a treat.

This set has it all, Pro Shot and Pro Sound, setlist is below, Enjoy:

Whiskey River
Good Hearted Woman (Waylon Jennings cover)
Funny How Time Slips Away (Billy Walker cover)
Night Life
Down Yonder
Me and Paul
Workin' Man Blues (Merle Haggard cover)
I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train (Billy Joe Shaver cover)
Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys (Ed Bruce cover)
Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground
On the Road Again
Always on My Mind (Brenda Lee cover)
Will the Circle Be Unbroken?
Amazing Grace
Milk Cow Blues (Sleepy John Estes cover)
Still Is Still Moving to Me
Pancho and Lefty (Townes Van Zandt cover)
I Never Cared for You
Mountain Dew
My Bucket's Got a Hole in It

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Alison Mosshart Fire Power Solo Art Exhibition

Living in NYC there is never enough time to do everything, plain and simple. One thing RtBE has really dropped the ball on is attending the numerous art gallery openings that literally happen blocks away from us. The last one we attended was for a friend who passed away too soon.

That is changing though as we are making a mid-year resolution to do more of just that and it has started already.
Thanks to the good people at Press Here Publicity, we were clued into the opening of Alison Mosshart (The Kills, Dead Weather) first ever solo Art Exhibition titled Fire Power which would be opening literally around the block from our apartment at the Joseph Gross Gallery. Being a huge fan of her music (already posted about her upcoming album this week), we figured it was the perfect time to take the plunge into the art world.

Mosshart is a dynamic front woman and that perspective/unique approach comes through in her artwork as well. One of the things we found interesting is the clear titles written directly into the art and as a lyricist this makes total sense, we dig it.
Forgive this newbie as to not knowing how to properly describe the works or use flowery prose to pontificate on the meaning of pieces (we will save that for the music critiques) but it is safe to say we would have liked the art if we had no idea who Alison was. Vice also did an interview with Mosshart to have her give voice to the pieces and the process.
We felt weird taking pictures of artwork, still a bit unclear on the etiquette of these things, but we took one shot of the magic carpet above and there are a few other sites you can check out for more of her work from this exhibition.

Guest of a Guest in particular did an amazing job of capturing the event here and I am not just saying that because of the damn good looking couple here, hell even my glasses got their own shot with Alison's art:
Post event we have to say that we are now fans of both Mosshart's music and her artwork but in the end it really all does feel like one in the same. The exhibit runs until Saturday so if you are in the neighborhood definitely stop by and check it out.      

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Album Review: Slum Village- Yes!

Slum Village
***and 1/2 out of *****
The Detroit Hip Hop institution Slum Village has faced its fair share of trauma with the death of original members J Dilla and Baatin but the group continues to release easy bouncing hip hop that, while not as retro as it's cover art, would be just as at home in 1995 as 2015.

Built around the beats of J Dilla, who posthumously produced 9 of the 12 tracks here also appearing with Baatin rhyming on tracks. Releasing hip hop after people have passed is common place but the beautiful part of Yes! is that it never once feels forced, things flow expertly which is a testament to Young RJ working to match the present with the past.

Opener "Love Is" is a smooth sex rhyme while the better "Tear It Down" actually performs the title trick by deconstructing the beat halfway through then chanting the refrain building the track back up with a distorted verse. The beautiful bouncing bass on "Expressive" is classic J Dilla and makes a fairly common R&B track pulse vibrantly alive.  

"Push It Along" brings in Phife Dawg from the original and that mid 90's Tribe vibe is clearly alive. To ram the point home De La Soul show up "Right Back" bringing back the classic flow, reminding long time fans of the lush sound that made alternative hip hop an actual thing.

Other guests like Black Milk and Frank Nitt help out "We On The Go!" while the current day anger with police tactics is addressed in "Windows" with the help of J Ivy. While the retro appeal is clear the current day players on tracks like "Where We Come From" is just as vital to the overall feel and tone.

The album easily breezes by where other hip-hop full lengths can struggle and drag, usually bloated with dumb skits or throw away tracks. In this case the conclusion of Yes! comes too soon.
Support the artist here, buy the album here, and peep some video below:


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

New Dead Weather Album, Dodge & Burn Coming in Sept

As big time fans of Jack White here at RtBE we are excited that one of his projects, The Dead Weather, will be releasing their new album in the Fall.
We have been getting some singles through Third Man Record's Vault program, but it is going to be great to consume the full album and we will get it on cool yellow and black vinyl, just like a Styrper Album...
Actually since the band is not touring behind this release, it would have been very nice to include a DVD in this package of one of their past shows, like the vault did for The Raconteurs and Jack White solo. Personally, we love DW and are looking forward to this release. Their dirty, funky rock and roll is catchy as hell and the new songs are in that vein.

Here are some old songs to get you ready for the black leather clad rockers newest in the fall:

Cover of West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band:

Monday, July 6, 2015

Dylan Cover #193 Jason Bennett "Let Me Die In My Footsteps"

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune is by Jason Bennett and it is a cover of "Let Me Die In My Footsteps"

Thoughts on Original:
From the first time we tackled a cover of this track:
A Dylan track that for once you don't have to wonder what he is singing about. This is Dylan's reaction to nuclear war and the cold war scare that was happening, "Let Me Die In My Footsteps" is a defiant statement against to the idea of bomb shelters and fear. A proud American song that still resonates today and an early Dylan track we go back to periodically. Also sounding a whole hell of a lot like "Long Black Veil" helps things out too. Quick side note, it was the first Dylan song we put on the morning of September 11th 2001.   

Thoughts on The Cover Artist:
Jason Bennett is a folk singer from Colorado Springs, CO and Dylan fits his voice excellently. We had not heard of him until this cover track.  
Thoughts on Cover:
A very nice rendition, at first I thought Bennett was trying to put on a nasally Dylan impression but it evened out (or my ears warmed up to it) as the tune progressed. The octave violin playing by Tim Lorsch is an excellent enhancement to the track, making it more then a simple redo of the original.     

Friday, July 3, 2015

Full Show Friday: Grateful Dead 7/4/1989

Last year we searched the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and posted them to the site monthly.  That was all well and good but this year RtBE is upping the ante with a show every week to celebrate Full Show Friday's.  These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...This week...The Grateful Dead!

(Ok we are repeating ourselves with this one, but it is a holiday so enjoy this great show)

We took the opportunity a few years back to talk about the Best American Band question on July 4th. This year we are just giving you our answer in concert form, the Grateful Dead's July 4th 1989 concert. What a doozy! This is our second full show Friday Dead feature (we kicked the series off with them) and it is the perfect weekend to bust them back out as it is America's Birthday.

This was taken up at Rich Stadium home of the Buffalo Bills and captures the Dead in one of their better late period shows, pro audio and video to boot. From the opening "Bertha" to the 1st set closing "Deal" Jerry is just on and seems to be in a great mood. A few personal favorites of RtBE's are in their ("Stagger Lee", "Row Jimmy") adding to us digging on this set. 

Not many setlist surprises, just great playing from the group. The second set starts with a great "Touch of Grey" before the reggae tinge of "Man Smart, Woman Smarter".  "Terrapin Station" is always a welcomed 2nd set addition and always a sucker for Brent's work "I Will Take You Home" just melts hearts. What better Encore for the 4th of July then "US Blue's"?

The full set list is below, Enjoy:

Set 1
Greatest Story Ever Told
Cold Rain and Snow
Walkin' Blues
Row Jimmy
When I Paint My Masterpiece
Stagger Lee
Looks Like Rain

Set 2
Touch of Grey
Man Smart, Woman Smarter
Ship of Fools
Playing in the Band
Terrapin Station
I Will Take You Home
All Along the Watchtower
Morning Dew
Not Fade Away
E: U.S. Blues 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Album Review: Mephiskapheles- Mephiskapheles

*** out of *****

When it it comes to the ska genre we don't have too many touchstones from our listening past, but the be all end all for RtBE has always been the NYC classic, God Bless Satan from Mephiskapheles. There are certain albums that will always be in the collection via all forms, vinyl, digital, CD and God Bless Satan has been there through thick and thin. It is with great joy that we find that the band is back together and writing new material, such as this recently released self titled album.

While not expecting it to approach one of our all time favorites this S/T album more then holds it own with crisp devilry horns, funky drums and feedback crunched guitars. Opening with the EP's best song "Satan Stole My Weed" the band continues its humorous romp through infectious horn hooks and shout along choruses.   

The old man get-off-my-porch of "Hell On Earth" bemoans reality TV as well as smart bombs and today's current horrors while a trumpet blare kicks off the upbeat dance heavy "Let Them Come". Things drag a bit during the sluggish "Snakes In The Garden" but the energy pops back up instantly for the ska-tastic "Friends Like You" before the disk closing "Any Fool".  

It is great to have one of the more interesting mid 90's NYC acts back in the saddle and creating fresh music again. Here's hoping Satan keeps inspiring these hell hounds.
Support the band here, buy the album or stream the album on their bandcamp page, or below:

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Album Review: Ghostface Killah & BADBADNOTGOOD- Sour Soul

Ghostface Killah & BADBADNOTGOOD 
Sour Soul
*** out of *****
Ghostface Killah has been incredibly busy lately releasing an album a year since 2013 and this is the first of two scheduled for 2015. On his last effort, 36 Seasons, Ghost partnered with The Revelations a Brooklyn soul band who added a calming retro touch to the chaotic comic book/superhero story trying to be told. On Sour Soul Ghost has again teamed up with a live band, this time the Toronto based trip-hop/jazz outfit BADBADNOTGOOD, the result is a freer looser and more enjoyable effort then 36 Seasons but not a career milestone by any stretch.  

The band plays that retro soul style that fits the Wu Warrior's verses like a glove even managing to toss in a few instrumentals like the easy string laden "Stark Reality" or the horn blown "Experience" album closer. When the front man comes on though he does it in his trademark style, uncut repeating the ghetto war stories of yore and coming on the heels of 36 Seasons, he does have a feel of going through the motions as a lead MC. Far from poor he still links words and syllables effortlessly but there is a sense of having heard it all already that creeps in.  

Things are mixed equal measure for BBNG's smooth sliding beats and Ghostface's pimp rhymes ("Tone's Rap") or pumped up with energy when it is called for over crisp drums and keyboard choruses ("Mind Playing Tricks"). The guests add a nice texture update with Danny Brown injecting a verse for "Six Degrees" and Elzhi trumping Ghost's power on "Gunshowers".

The upbeat tone though is fleeting, the mainstay is the 70's retro soul vibe and BBNG perfectly play it, if without a distinct feel; if anything they replicate the sound too perfectly it almost feels sampled. The best combo of all the styles is the Tree helped "Street Knowledge" which rolls along effortlessly with musical flares from the ether and rhymes from the gutter.  

This album feels par for the course (not a major highlight far from a letdown) just more of the same smooth jams and gruff vocals, a pattern Ghostface has seemed to settled into nicely over recent years.
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