Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Furthur @ The Greek Theatre 9/21

Last night Fischer Trucking of my home town of Petaluma rolled the stage, lights, and band equipment of Grateful Dead legends Bob Weir and Phil Lesh's new ensemble, Furthur, into the comforts of The Greek Theatre in Griffith Park. What does the trucking company that has been hauling the Grateful Dead since the early eighties have to do with the concert? Big and little Mike Fischer are the only reason that the author of this blog was able to attend. The concert didn't seem sold out, but upon arriving to claim the tickets left for myself and the beautiful Adrienne at will call we saw a line of at least a hundred wide-eyed hippies that disappeared up the hill and continued on for lord knows how long. The seats were the best that I've had the pleasure of enjoying at this venue and the show was pretty damn good. Highlights from the first set include opening with "Alligator," and closing with an up tempo "Mason's Children." John Kadlecik was in great form taking on his duties as the "Jerry," character of the group while other "youngsters" Jeff Chimenti on keys and most importantly Joe Russo (STUD) playing both rhythm devils were on fire. The soloing was great, the jams were blatantly well rehearsed form-wise with players actually having sheet music!!! Not the same get stoned and find your way through the mayhem Dead that many of the audience members still revel in. The band has evolved and certainly gone Furthur. Phil sang a number of his tunes throughout the night as well as classics from Bobby and John. The only bad thing I can say (for the entire show) is that Weir's guitar was pretty much inaudible for the majority of the first set. Second set highlights include a complete "Weather Report Suite," which pretty much blew my mind to even be included in the set. The bulk of the second half of one of my favorite pieces of vinyl, "Wake of the Flood." The ensemble played great throughout and the crowd went nuts everytime Weir came back to the mic. Then the set closed with a beautiful rendition of "Morning Dew," sung wonderfully and then shredded to pieces by Kadlecik. This was a real treat for deadheads as Kadlecik's vocal and guitar not only sounded like Garcia, but a young and vigorous Garcia circa 1972. After this lengthy performance I thought the second set was closed, but not before a high energy "Playin' in the Band," which really brought the house down. Phil then returned to the stage to give a quick heartfelt speech about being the recipient of an organ donation. Short and sweet was his touching tribute to the person who saved is life and 6 others and then he announced that they had one more....

Monday, September 6, 2010

He and Shim at the LA Food and Wine Festival

M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel are the duo She and Him. Their two albums "Volume 1," and "Volume 2" are both warm, fuzzy, analogue recordings produced by Ward and tastefully arranged with the help of Mike Mogis and other session cats. Deschanel's voice is one that I can only describe as timeless. It has a quality that when coupled with Ward's production style and smooth backup vocals creates recordings that would be impossible to place on a timeline if heard without prior knowledge or description. Despite the possibility of minor pitch issues- which may have gone unnoticed by this kid's trained ear- I would say that she didn't miss a single note last night and she certainly didn't hold anything back. I have heard both albums, but mostly couldn't wait or barely stand to hear her endearing and passionate renditions of their tunes "Sentimental Heart," and "Change is Hard." Beautiful. The rest of the Food and Wine Festival was also fantastic. We managed to find the LA Times Wine Club booth in the back which was giving out healthy pours of Roblar Sauvignon blanc and various other varietals and stayed in the vicinity. Near by was some delicious free blueberry lemonade for hydration and some free tequila in the form of shots and tequila-cran concoctions. Eventually we filled up and headed over to the stage where Deschanel and Ward played songs from both albums as well as some thoughtfully chosen covers including an acoustic guitar and ukulele duet of "Wouldn't it Be Nice," by the Beach Boys and a raucous encore of "Roll Over Beethoven," from the Chuck Berry catalogue. Zooey's telecaster shaped ukulele was pretty cool to see as well. Great set. Far away pic, but you see the scene. Your welcome LA Times for the free advertising. I know you need it.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pickathon: Frank Fairfield "Sleeper"

No that's not the name of the tune. That's the name we dubbed Frank. This 23 year old kid was- in a move of shear genius- slotted right before Bonnie 'Prince' Billy at the WoodStage on the Saturday of this year's Pickathon festival at Pendarvis Farm just outside of Portland, Ore. Quickly, let me say Thank You to any and all who helped put on this festival!! What a treat. We are coming back with more numbers and for a longer stay next year. I hope it remains so moderately priced and special for years to come. Alright, back to Frank. So everyone is setting up early to get good seats for Will Oldham and the Cairo Gang (Awesome set by the way, but I stopped filming to further enjoy....) and has no idea who Frank Fairfield is until he drops all jaws and silences the crowd after saying "I'm gonna play some American songs fer ya'." In the first video (follow to youtube) you can here me saying "This kid's a sleeper," and "He's got an old soul my friend," by the end I yelled down to him "God Bless you Frank." My beautiful and always two steps ahead girlfriend Adrienne bought me his LP the following morning and I caught up with Frank near the main stage for a signing of it and a chat about his version of "Deep Elem Blues," not to mention his performing schedule in the Los Angeles area where we both reside.  Frank is currently touring Europe and bringing his renditions of classic tunes undoubtedly to bars, pubs, theatres, and pick-up jams everywhere he goes. We caught him three times at the festival and were really treated to find him, Blind Boy Paxton, and some other unknown members from other Pickathon groups in the Workshop Barn pickin' on our way out. A crowd of three turned into about 25 and Adrienne and I started a twirling stompdance session that really blew the performers away after starting with no audience and just playing for the fun of it. What a festival. Enjoy the footage and I apologize for the laughter and shaking in advance...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Fresh Vinyl (That's New To Me): MMW's Combustication

Just picked up Medeski, Martin, and Wood's arguably most accesible and popular album to date on wax. It was an easy decision to make. Take MMW throw in DJ Logic and press it on vinyl, "Um, yes, thanks. Ring'er up freakish dipshit with the lip-ring and purple mohawk that hasn't been spiked up in weeks." I brought it home and my new Spanish roommate says, "Awwwww yes, you should burn something like this for me because I am needing fresh music." You got it girlfriend! I know some people complain that Medeski is obviously classically taught and not a true jazz cat or that they stick on the same thing for too long and it gets boring, or whatever, but when you see them in Nor Cal and they come out of a super extended spacey trip into the tastiest clav groove you ever heard you just don't care. I have to agree with the old shirt with the BMW logo...."The Ultimate Grooving Machine." The slow warmth of "Everyday People," the instant entertainment of "Sugarcraft," the ridiculous jazz story on "Whatever Happened to Gus..." this ain't bein' me favorite of their albums, but it is good.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Live Music Tonight: Parson Red Heads and Fruitbats

So.........I caught the Fruitbats on NPR/KCRW this morning and the set was pretty cool. I had first learned of this band in San Diego covering their tune "When you Love Somebody," with Ernie Garcia and StuntDouble. But, I had never really pursued checking the band out despite really enjoying the simple tune with its ups and downs in dynamics and intensity.....Then, yesterday I heard it on the radio and sure enough the DJ says that they're going to be on Morning Becomes Eclectic today so I gave a lis'. Well, they're in town because they are going to play at the Echoplex tonight and I am trying to roust some heads to go peep it out when I head over to the website to see about ticks and........I see that The Parson Red Heads are playing at the Echo tonight as well in a show promoted by my favorite local blog, Aquarium Drunkard. Well ho-lee-shit....what's a kid to do? I first heard about the Parsons from the Drunkard's Ram on L.A. a tribute to Paul and Linda McCartney's RAM album. The Parson Red Heads did one of the best re-makes on that album, which was awesome in spirit and benefitted charity, but in many cases failed to produce good renditions, in my opinion. Their version of "Ram On," stood out enough for me to remember their name and check out their myspace and eventually become a fan. So......this is a good problem to have if you are interested in going out to see some live music in Silverlake tonight, but it still presents a problem.....Parsons or Fruitbats......more to come on this tomorrow.....

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Concert Review: A.A. Bondy @ The Echo

A. A. Bondy just finished up at the Echo in Silverlake. First thing that stood out was his voice. Instantly recognizable as a great folk/pop timbre. Instantly. Nice little trio; drummer doubled on pedal steel and had a synth pad he used to trigger some samples (not too exciting, but noteworthy in terms of the electric sound they had on some tunes)...the pedal steel was quite nice, however. After three songs one might think that they were in for an insanely dynamic performance and they wouldn't be too far off, but for the lull in the center of the set. Somewhere in the middle of this lull the band went into a noise-rock/sound experiment of nob turning and feedback, but it just wasn't convincing. I was actually extremely relieved when they brought the intensity back up for the last couple of tunes because they executed it so much better. This was achieved by not solely raising volume and distortion, but doing so whilst maintaining the integrity of a very slow building 6/8 tumbler which they were able to climax beautifully before ending with a dissonant crash. A.A. also displayed some tasty travis-picking independence and the encore displayed the drummer's musicality and skill with a long set of extremely even and poignant double-stroke rolls within his compound metered groove. All in all this headlining set was very mellow, plenty eclectic, and overall, quite satisfying. Always nice to hear a band sound even better then their records.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

RVOW: Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning

So, I suppose this isn't the most random vinyl, but whatever. They're all just great records that I feel like highlighting and spinning for a week and this is no exception. How does it fit in with the classics I've gone through? Emmylou Harris sings backups on it (shrug) good enough?....I didn't even realize it was actually her voice and not a just a younger female going for the same vibe until I read up for this entry. The songwriting is also pretty damn good and many claim that Oberst first claimed his place in the lineage with this record. I think it to be a fair statement. Conner Oberst is a fantastic and prolific songwriter and as good as any of his contemporaries if not right up there with the greats from the past in the genres of folk, rock, garage, psych folk, whatever.... I picked this baby up on Audiophile grade vinyl for 9.99 and it comes with a digital download code from Saddle Creek records. Lovin' it.....keep it greasy......

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Have You Dug Don Covay Yet?

Do you dig on The Rising Storm? If you are saying "Who the heck is Don Covay?" then the answer is undoubtedly no. Wait....should I back up? Do you dig classic funk/soul/rhythm and blues/rock and roll? Then peep The Rising Storm out. In their words: "The Rising Storm is an mp3 blog about fine forgotten albums. We focus on lost gems in the genres of garage, country rock, psych folk, psychedelic rock, and other overlooked classics." Need I say more???? Don Covay is a soulful brother whose "Mercy Mercy," which I first found on Aquarium Drunkard (through The Rising Storm) a few months back, was recorded with a young Jimi Hendrix on guitar. The difference between the record discussed in that original post, See Saw, which is a classic soul groover and "The House of  Blue Lights," which more closely resembles a gritty Taj Mahal record of the same era shows the range and roots of this forgotten talent. The mp3s from the older post have expired, but the new one has two downloadable tracks and if you see one of this cat's records in some dingy bin somewhere then buy it. If you don't want it hit me up and I promise to pay you twice what it cost you plus shipping or whateva. Grazie

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Blogger Bollocks/Reflections of the Kerouac Kids

Keeping a blog is kind of a bit sometimes. It's like keeping a journal. It seems easy and fun for a minute, but it requires research and effort and time and narcissism. All of which I feel I have plenty of so.....I will continue to keep trying to post as much as possible. This post is a poem from my personal journal dated Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009.

Deeper than attempted before we dove....
Dove into the heart of Jack's skid-row San Frisco
Mad-Night Knife-Sharp San Francis
Upside Down Dive Doven Bars with real hobos-just a little to close to the square-yet down trodden and upended and red-eye listenin' to our juke jingles...

Everyone failed to meet their humanly responsibilities
the morning to come
Josh and I woke up in his bed
Clothed, yes, yet stripped of all dignity and manhood nevertheless
How? Why? Where? Who?
No one could tell all
It would take several phone calls to piece it all together....


He bought Craig a room and saved Josh from a
Solo cab ride to god knows where
And then he put Josh and I in a cab and sent us off...
Scott said he looked in and saw neither of us
Present before he went to work
One last piece of the puzzle we'll probably never find
Maybe we should stop looking for Jack......

Monday, January 4, 2010

RVOW: Elton John's Tumbleweed Connection

Welcome to the working week...Random Vinyl is back and this week the Newb-Log is spinning a classic, as always, Tumbleweed Connection. If you don't think you like Elton John then shut up and buy this record. Mine was $1.99 at Rasputin in Berkeley during my vacationing in the Bay last month and I was very pleasantly surprised to find that the vinyl was in near perfect condition at this price (sigh of joy/an f-u to LA stores). I stumbled on this LP in a small stack preserved under the Hi-Fi at my lovely girlfriend's house on Christmas day. She had convinced her folks that I loved vinyl and that they should let me peruse the stacks and make a selection to back our lovely dinner (BTW if you have any friend's with Portuguese mothers or G-ma's invite yourself over for dinner, STAT!!!). Mr. Fedrick gave me the thumbs up and I quickly found some classic country including Cash, Haggard, Springsteen's Nebraska, and then this odd little storefront picture with Elton slumped in the corner. I knew I had heard of this record, but couldn't place it. Had I read about it on The Rising Storm? No, too popular for that, right? What about a reference on the Drunkard? I later remembered that I had heard the second half on 100.3 The Sound's Album sides Wednesday. So I queued the needle and trotted upstairs to where the system was set to play. I literally blurted out "Oh, Shit. This is rockin'." Well......we made it through that first tune and through the second, which is a fantastic ballad and arrangement entitled: "Come Down in Time." Then I was urged to put on one of the old Christmas LPs instead, which was fine because they had a classic compilation with Bing and Nat King Cole. It didn't even matter, though. I knew I needed this album and where to find it on my way back to Berkeley, San Frisco, and ultimately back home. I don't even want to get too technically deep on this record I just want to say thank you very much to Dee Fedrick for turning me on to it and say that I have rarely enjoyed a record's every single song this much on the first listen. The records they shove up your ass and down your throat these days are all designed to sound great on first listen, but they don't reward any further upon subsequent listens. They just sit there like stale bread and they taste much worse. Tumbleweed has lovely arrangements and hooky chorus' and flows like a classically structured work with movements. Happy New Year, kids, one of my resolutions is to post more/post music/study up on me ingles. Throw a brother a comment, talk shit, c'mon!!!