Tag Archives: 2011

Greensky Bluegrass announce CD release Winter Tour

 

 

Greensky Bluegrass has announced its plans for a Winter Tour that crosses the entire country in five weeks.

The announcement caps an epic year that saw critical acclaim for their new album, Handguns; performances in front of thousands at Bonnaroo, Bumbershoot, Electric Forest, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass & two dozen other festivals and with Rolling Stone proclaiming “Greensky Bluegrass are representing the genre for a whole new generation.”

Wrapping up an amazing 2011 in Michigan, the group celebrates with a two-night New Year’s Run at Detroit’s legendary Majestic Theater with The Macpodz as special guests. 2012’s first tour begins in the Northeast with Todd Sheaffer of Railroad Earth supporting; followed by a few Midwest stops including the Park West in Chicago, before heading to Colorado, Wyoming and Montana for a 10-show Ski Tour, wrapping up with the band’s debut at the Wintergrass Festival in Tacoma, WA. From there, Greensky Bluegrass continues even further westward by hopping halfway across the Pacific Ocean for two shows in Hawaii on the islands Oahu and Maui for the band’s debut on the islands.

While this ain’t your grandpa’s ‘traditional’ bluegrass, Greensky has decided to go notably old school with the release of Handguns on a limited edition, double LP, 192 gram vinyl pressing. Handguns vinyl presale orders will be available after the holidays on the band’s website.

As a bonus to fans both new and old, Greensky Bluegrass is offering a free stream & download of the Handguns EP, featuring five of the songs from the new album at www.GreenskyBluegrass.com.

 

December

30 – Detroit, MI w/The Macpodz
31 – Detroit, MI w/The Macpodz

January

17 – Baltimore, MD – 8×10 – w/ Todd Sheaffer (Railroad Earth)
18 – Philadelphia, PA – World Café Live – w/ Todd Sheaffer (Railroad Earth)
19 – New York, NY – Sullivan Hall – w/ Todd Sheaffer (Railroad Earth)
20 – Boston, MA – Middle East w/ The BridgeBuilders
21 – Burlington, VT – Higher Ground w/ Jatoba
22 – Syracuse, NY – Wescott Theater
26 – Urbana, IL – Canopy Club – w/ Strange Arrangement
27 – Chicago, IL – Park West w/ Strange Arrangement
28 – Madison, WI – Majestic Theater – w/ Strange Arrangement

February

4 – Kalamazoo, MI – Bell’s Eccentric Cafe
8 – Denver, CO – Bluebird Theater
9 – Boulder, CO – Fox Theatre
10 – Ft. Collins, CO – Hodi’s Half Note
11 – Ft. Collins, CO – Hodi’s Half Note
12 – Crested Butte, CO – Center for the Arts
14 – Aspen, CO – Belly Up
15 – Breckenridge, CO – Three 20 South
17 – Jackson, WY – Mangy Moose
18 – Big Sky, MT – Big Sky Big Grass Bluegrass Festival
19 – Big Sky, MT – Big Sky Big Grass Bluegrass Festival
21 – Missoula, MT – Top Hat
22 – Ketchum, ID – Whiskey Jaques
23 – Boise, ID — Reef
25 – Tacoma, WA — Wintergrass Festival

March

2 – Oahu, HI – The Arts at Mark’s Garage
3 – Maui, HI – Charley’s
23 – Live Oak, FL – Suwanee Springfest

April

29 – Indio, CA – Stagecoach Festival

May

26 – Chilicothe, IL – Summer Camp Music Festival
27 – Chilicothe, IL – Summer Camp Music Festival
 

Home for the holidays with the North Mississippi Allstars


North Mississippi Allstars / Jason Isbell
Minglewood Hall
Memphis, TN
November 25, 2011

Every family has its own holiday customs. For the North Mississippi Allstars, a band whose sound and soul were bred on the grounds their forefathers walked on, that tradition is the Thanksgiving Memphis show. The Allstars’ hometown holiday shows are always a festive occasion, marked by cover tunes and special guests. On November 25, they played to an audience full of rowdy fans, local music icons, and one rock and roll hall of famer.

Jason Isbell warmed up the crowd despite having their trailer of equipment stolen days before in Dallas. Using the Allstars’ gear (except for Jimbo Hart, the bassist…Allstars’ bassist Chris Chew is a lefty), Isbell and the 400 Unit were phenomenal.

Playing choice numbers from the 400 Unit and Drive-By Truckers catalogue, Isbell dazzled with his intoxicating guitar work and poetic lyrics. The set-opening “Go It Alone” set the bar for the night, and the band’s cover of the Meters’ “Hey Pocky Way,” sung by drummer and Memphis local Chad Gamble, was spot on.

Isbell’s set-ending “Try” was a blistering display of just how potent a band Isbell has put together. Mid-song they threw a few instrumental bars of Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter” into the tune…ironic given that the legendary Zep frontman, Robert Plant, was in attendance at the show.

The Dickinson family has long been central to the rich Mid-South musical community. Memphis has watched the Dickinson brothers grow up, from their DDT days to being joined by Chew and morphing into the North Mississippi Allstars. Their music is steeped in the tones and accents of the region, and the Allstar sound is a bi-product of taking something as personal as the Mississippi hill country blues and making it their own.

It’s special to have the band in town, playing to a room packed with family and friends. But, expectations are always high for a Memphis Allstars show, so when Allstars drummer Cody Dickinson strutted out in a white suit, viking helmet, and goggles, it was clear that, at the very least, the band had dressed for the occasion.

As Cody laid down the intro to “Shimmy She Wobble,” the audience instantly began to move, and by the time the band got to “Mississippi Bollweevil,” the crowd was a unified mass of bodies, boogieing off every one of those extra Thanksgiving pounds. The Allstars segued from “Bollweevil” into “Preachin’ Blues,” bringing the gospel to Memphis, and followed it up with a cover of The Impressions’ “People Get Ready,” led by Chew. “Shake” turned into a crowd sing-along as the band brought the music down to a mere whisper, so the crowd could sing the chorus.

“Mean ‘Ol Wind Died Down” was the first song where Luther Dickinson got to stretch out and show why he is one of the best guitarists touring today, and why the North Mississippi Allstars are at their sharpest as the trio. For a band that has toured sporadically over the past few years, it sure doesn’t take long to round into game shape. As Luther slid his glass slide up and down the neck of his guitar, delivering note after singing note, and Cody and Chew laid down the steadiest of backbeats, the crowd stood at rapt attention, soaking in all of that sickly sweet slide guitar goodness.

The audience was taken to the garage on the subsequent “New Orleans Walking Dead,” a barrage of drum beats from Cody leading the way as Luther unleashed a furious solo while Chew kept a tight bass groove. The Allstars then took the audience to New Orleans, with Chew handling lead vocals on the Lee Dorsey nugget, “Everything I Do Gonh Be Funky (From Now On).” It was an amazing take on the tune, sped up to a near frenetic pace, showcasing the band’s ridiculous instrumental proficiency. It’s amazing how many notes can be shoved into two minutes without clogging up the sound.

Luther picked up his acoustic guitar for “Goin’ Home,” and Cody — the consummate musician — played his drums and guitar simultaneously…the guy never ceases to amaze. Local washboard legend Jimmy Crosthwait, an old band-mate of Dickinson patriarch Jim, took the stage for “Horseshoe” and “Moonshine.” It was a warm but bittersweet moment, but Jim was undoubtedly watching down from above with a huge grin.

The band stepped on the gas with “Po Black Maddie,” bringing the boogie back after the quieter portion of the show. Powered through the R.L. Burnside number, the trio seamlessly segued into a verse of Taj Mahal’s “Chevrolet,” played their way back into “Maddie” and out again into “Skinny Woman,” briefly stopped for a thunderous drum solo, and finally landed at “Psychedelic Sex Machine,” Cody’s vehicle for electric washboard bliss. It was a true testament to just how tight of a group the Allstars are. When they’re locked in and hitting the note, there are few acts who can do they do…at least not with an electric washboard…no one else is doing that.

The back half of the set was reserved for classics, and nothing was left out. The crowd roared when Luther asked if “y’all want to shake ’em on down a little bit,” and “Never In All My Days” was north Mississippi hill country boogie at its very finest. Crosthwait came back out for “KC Jones,” and the band put a slightly different spin on “Sugartown,” playing the tune with a slightly quicker backbeat and a marching bassline that brought a different dimension to the tune. With “Drinkin’ Muddy Water” — during which Cody played his drums with huge red whiffle ball bats and Luther set his guitar down to play a four-stringed cigar box guitar  — the set was over and the band left the stage.

When they returned for the encore, the Allstars had Jason Isbell in tow, and he and Dickinson traded vocals on a cover of Justin Townes Earle’s “Harlem River Blues.” Then, Alvin Youngblood Hart took the stage for a powerful take on his own “Big Mama’s Door” that nearly brought the house down. Luther and Alvin have a great musical connection, and it was showcased on the song. The band closed their encore with “Hear The Hills” and “Let It Roll,” left the stage, and returned yet again, closing the show with “All Night Long > Snake Drive,” and with that, the night was finally over.

The holidays mean a lot of different things to a lot of people, and for Memphis, it has come to mean the Allstars. The night truly was a celebration…a celebration of family — blood and adopted — and friends, old and new. But above all, it was about the musical legacy of the Dickinson family and the North Mississippi Allstars.

 

More photos from the show by Josh Mintz

North Mississippi Allstars

Jason Isbell

Poor Man’s Whiskey, 11/11/11

Poor Man’s Whiskey
The Fillmore Auditorium
San Francisco, CA
November 11, 2011

 

Poor Man’s Whiskey presented their “Darkside of the Moonshine” interpretation of Pink Floyd’s heralded album on a recent November night to a sold out crowd at the legendary Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco. Before the show and in true picker fashion, PMW played on the sidewalk in front of the Fillmore to those waiting in the ticket line.

After an opening set by Ten Mile Tide, whose foot stomping country rock kept the audience happily occupied, Poor Man’s Whiskey came out for a set of originals — most of which containing the play of special guest, Michael Kang (String Cheese Incident) — before leaving the stage to prepare for the genre-bending saga to come.

Upon return, the band again had Kang in tow, and was fully decked out in Wizard of Oz costumes and the stage was decorated to the hilt in the band’s attempt to recreate the timeless album in a manner that was all their own.

“Money” became “Whiskey” and opened with beer cans popping, beer bottles clinking and burps as opposed to the cash register machine noises that signal the opening of the Floyd number that we have become accustomed to.

Surprisingly the psychedelic gems of Pink Floyd lent themselves well to the Poor Man’s Whiskey treatment as this high energy, fun band delivered a night full of trippy visuals and audio bliss.

As is prototypical for the band, the show ended with an acoustic number, “Sierra Girl,” with no amplification, and with that, PMW sent the elated and satiated crowd into the San Francisco night.

 

Setlist

 

I: Carolina Pines, Cousin Billy, Caroline, Angeline, Humbolt Hoedown, PMS, Whiskey Creek > Mexico, Easy Come, Abigail
II: Speak to Me, On the Run, Breathe – Reprise, Great Gig in the Sky, Whiskey (Money), Us and Them, Any Colour You Like, Brain Damage, Eclipse
Encore: Willie, Rock Star on the Weekend, Sierra Girl

 

Stream the show below or click here to download an audience recording.

 

Click the thumbnail(s) to view photos from the show by Susan J. Weiand

 

Garage A Trois to tour Colorado in December

Garage A Trois, a post rock/freak jazz entity comprised of Seattle-based saxophonics master Skerik, Brooklyn sound-sculptor/keysman Marco Benevento, Texas-born punk rock vibraphone hero Mike Dillon and New Orleans funky drummer/beat scientist Stanton Moore, have announced five shows in Colorado this December. The run starts in Telluride, stops in Breckenridge, Ft. Collins and Boulder, and concludes in Denver. While in Boulder, the band plans to drop into Immersive Studios to record a limited edition 7-inch for release on Record Store Day in 2012.

The Colorado tour is part of a year long surge behind Garage A Trois’ latest critically lauded album Always Be Happy, But Stay Evil out now on The Royal Potato Family.

Always Be Happy, But Stay Evil is the follow up to Garage A Trois’ 2009 release, Power Patriot (the band’s debut with Benevento replacing original member Charlie Hunter). In the words of Stanton Moore, “the band set out to capture the highly flammable, rock-driven, avant pop album we all knew we were capable of making.” Recorded at Studio In The Country in Bogalusa, LA (where albums by The Neville Brothers, Stevie Wonder and The Wild Magnolias have been cut) with engineer/producer Randall Dunn (Cave Singers, Black Mountain, Sun City Girls), it’s the finest representation yet of the band’s sinewy, fourth-dimensional, polychromatic songwriting.

Earlier this year, Honest Tune extensively profiled Garage A Trois. Check out that coverage here.

 

Upcoming Colorado Tour Dates

December 13 | The Llama | Telluride, CO
December 14 | Three 20 South | Breckenridge, CO
December 15 | Aggie Theater | Ft. Collins, CO
December 16 | Fox Theater | Boulder, CO
December 17 | Cervantes | Denver, CO

 

 

360° at YMSB’s Harvest Festival, 2011: Photos, Review, Interviews & Performances

It’s hard to picture a more fitting setting for a Bluegrass and Americana festival than the rolling peaks and valleys of the Ozark Mountain chain in Arkansas, or a better band to host it all than the Yonder Mountain String Band. With a lineup of stellar acts ranging from the legendary Peter Rowan and Bela Fleck, contemporary explorers Cornmeal and Greensky Bluegrass to the rabble rousing bands like Split Lip Rayfield or Dirtfoot, a varied crop of acts were laid out on the musical table at Yonder Mountain String Band’s Mulberry Mountain Harvest Festival.

Yonder’s hosting the festival went as far beyond simply lending their name to the proceedings as is humanly possible. By inviting some supremely talented friends to the party and filtering out onto the festival grounds, these hosts were as hospitable as one could fathom and managed to spread the feeling of boundless togetherness through their simple love of playing music.

 

One of the Mulberry Mountain Harvest Festivals true hallmarks were the sit ins, with violinist Darol Anger proving to be the leader in the weekend’s stag hopping. Not only did Anger guest with YMSB for all three of their headlining sets, but played with his frequent partner Scott Law, joined former pupil Bridget Law (no relation) as she played with her band Elephant Revival, got into a fiddle duel and round robin with Jason Carter during the Travellin’ McCourys’ set and was never anywhere without his fiddle.

Superstars like Bela Fleck, who performed with his Flecktones that welcomed Howard Levy back to piano duties, led informative workshops that were packed front to back with aficionados and musicians alike — all eager to learn. Then there were workshops that degenerated into pure parties, as was the case when Cornmeal and Greensky Bluegrass got together for classic rock cover showcase that ended with everyone in the tent rising to their feet and dancing to the crazy configuration of the complete double band blend.

Performers actually walked the festival grounds, joining free playing buskers and campground jams with the same reverence as any onstage show. The sense that the musicians were there for the show as much as anyone in the crowd was embodied by Vince Herman (Leftover Salmon, Great American Taxi), who jumped off stage to join the crowd to watch the proceedings from the crowd.

The crowd was appreciative of all  of the “once in a lifetime music”  that they were witnessing and the buzz throughout the weekend was speculation and wonderment in regards to which player would sit it with whom and where he/she would do so.

Fans enjoyed close camping and picture perfect weather, with blue skies stretching beyond the horizon during the day, and a haunting moon in the sky reflecting not just light but love down on all below it’s luminescence.

The grounds were as alive after the official music stopped as they were during any point in the day, with campfire jams sprouting up all around. You could hear wandering musicians picking, fiddling and drumming in the distance, adding to the musically connected vibe that defined the weekend.

Most amazing of all, if you listened close enough, you could hear the strolling players meet up, and listen as they joined each other. Whole bands that would have to be billed as super groups on any official line up were born, shone brighter than any sun and then faded away as they players once again drifted in search of the next sound.

The festival promoters are to be congratulated on the stroke of brilliance that was bringing in the Yonder Mountain String Band to host the party. More than just their plethora of friends who were eager to join them, beyond their ticket selling cache and their stellar talents, the guys from Yonder are great people. Their joy is so evident when they play that you don’t want the show to stop more for their benefit more than your own. You simply want them to be able to keep enjoying themselves. Banjo player Dave Johnston alternates from intense focus to the widest grins you’ve seen, while Adam Aijala’s legendary focus seems to transcend simple attention and move into a blissful realm of pure group synergy. Ben Kaufmann lays the bass with the confidence of a man fit perfectly in a role. Front man and mandolin troubadour Jeff Austin contorts his face like a child with a fresh ball of silly putty.

Joined by Darol Anger for all three of their sets, Yonder welcomed any and all to their stage, from an amazing sit in for “Fire on the Mountain” by legendary Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann to the entire Flecktones band. It seemed as though if you played an instrument and had it handy, you were welcome on the stage.

Picking parties turned into cacophonous rising moments of distilled energy  before the band departed the stage and promising to return next year.

They appeared exhausted, smiling and proud; having spent every last drop of their musical fuel onstage and in  so doing, providing a pure example of what a festival should be about:  celebration of music and camaraderie for one and all.

 

On The Scene at YMSB’s Harvest Festival with Dead Winter Carpenters, Jay Nash & Mountain Sprout (Performances & Interviews)

 

Writin’ Home for Five and Gettin’ Ten w/ Yonder Mountain String Band (Interview)

 

Cornmeal & Greensky Bluegrass team up for a cover of “Lay Down Sally”

 

Click the thumbnail(s) to view photos from the fest by Rex Thomson

Uniting the Past and Present of Music Revolution: Moogfest 2011

As the leaves changed colors and the temperatures began to fall, Moogfest made its triumphant return to the southern avant-garde city of Asheville, NC.

Though only in its second year under its current management and in its new home, the event has quickly become recognized by artists, music industry elites, and fans as being one of the most unique and truly revolutionary festivals in the land. Through its incorporation of some of the most eclectic music from the past four decades and music workshops open to all who are curious about the impact of musical inventions and work, coupled with the fact that the event’s attendees are also privy to Asheville’s native food-savvy culture as well as a plethora of art instillations all over the city, it is the complete sensory experience that sets the festival apart in a world of an ever-expanding market.

 

In short, Moogfest is a place where young and old gather to celebrate the extent of human genius in the world of music, and the one place where it’s not unusual to see Beetlejuice booty dancing with a unicorn.

Tucked away in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, the three day event celebrates the legacy of music guru Bob Moog, who forever transformed how listeners and artists experience music; and though using Moog equipment isn’t a prerequisite for being on the bill, the lineup focuses on those artists who have worked to be creative and push the future of musical innovation. Perhaps Flaming Lips front man Wayne Coyne said it best when he said “[the festival] is about being a fucking weirdo and just going for it.”

Friday

Friday began with a whirlwind of excitement. Fans from the previous year’s event turned out to greet faces of new alike as all set out to explore the playground that Asheville had become.

The newest addition to the festival this year included an outdoor stage, something which proved tricky in Asheville’s chilly fall nights, and cause many to relinquish elaborate costume ideas that they had pondered on in the weeks leading up to the event. But this is not to say that the campy spirit was entirely broken by the elements; there were still costumes abound, with the likes of giant Muppets battling aliens and a plethora of girls in neon wigs.

The first show of the day was a surprisingly energetic performance by Matthew Dear. Despite the less than warm weather, the debonair Dear and his squad of well-dressed musicians got the crowd moving enough to forget the unforgiving cold. The charismatic –and typically oxymoronic — enjoyable pop music set the stage for a positive night. The weather, however, continued to get worse as Mayer Hawthorne & The County took stage.

The Michigan based eclectic soul group made good humor of the situation and pleaded with the crowd to not laugh if they fell on the wet stage in the increasing downpour.

German electronic group Tangerine Dream has served as an influential paramount act since the late 60s. With over one hundred studio albums, Tangerine Dream is just one of those acts you can’t miss. The set provided equal opportunity in regards to whether one chose to dance to the groove being put forth or simply sit back and take in the ethereal and otherworldly music. One of the members commented how Moogfest was “one of the best prog fests on the planet right now” and commemorated Bob Moog as not only “just a technician, but a philosopher and a visionary.”

For those who needed something more upbeat than the solemn Tangerine Dream, Canadian electronic band Holy F**k provided a more rage-friendly scene. The incredible thing about this band is the manner in which they create their music. Their use of many instruments and random objects to pull off the computerized sounds without actually using the tools we’ve become accustomed to such as laptops and samplers, was a sight and sound to behold and for which many long.

As if this wasn’t enough, at the conclusion of Holy F**k’s set, Moby, the man who needs no introduction, made his entrance before the Moog masses.

Having been a critical piece to dance music over the past 20 years, the performer did not disappoint. Though personally skeptical in regards to how the music would work in live translation, my doubt was shortly put to rest as I was quickly blown away and whisked back to the days of “We Are All Made of Stars” and “Natural Blues.”

Throughout the set, the pioneer demonstrated that the performance was just as special for him as it was for those that were bearing witness, evidenced by his bountiful expressions of gratitude between every number. Joining him on stage was the lovely and supremely talented Inyang Bassey, whose voice became the centerpiece of Moby’s iconic music.

Saturday

Festival goers who attended Saturday seemed more prepared for Asheville’s blustery onset of an early winter. Most turned out more properly bundled, having made   alterations to their costumes in order to accommodate for the low temperatures. This preparation was at least partially responsible for an increase in the overall energy of the crowd, especially for the outdoor sets.

Dan Deacon, who famously created a mass dance scene at last year’s festival brought his antics yet again when he invoked an insanely long human dance tunnel for people to show off their moves in.

If Deacon’s costumed dance party didn’t get the crowd riled up, then certainly the spirited performance by Crystal Castles did the trick. Vocalist Alice Glass stole the show even though her lyrics were often drowned out by the music. But regardless of less than perfect sound mixing, Glass’s stage presents — which included frequently spitting whiskey onto the crowd — mixed with the heavy light show made for an incredible spectacle to observe.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, the Flaming Lips spectacle is one that is quite predictable. This said, it remains one of the most energetic and sensory overloaded experiences in the live music world of the day.

With an entrance no less than brazenly flamboyant, the crowd went wild as the band members walked out of the giant, flashing nether regions of a previously dancing nude woman. Continuously, front man Wayne Coyne – a festival connoisseur, no doubt –   praised Moogfest as being one of the best festivals in existence; even going as far as far as to encourage festival newcomers to “just stick with this fest, since nothing else could possible top the experience.”

At one point, an attempt was made to raise the spirit of Bob Moog to join the party. Between every song, Coyne had quite a lot to say to the audience, which at times seemed tedious due to the fact that fans wanted to hear more music. But in spite of the amount of conversation, the rainbow warzone that is a Flaming Lips show marked itself as something to remember. With an Emerson, Lake & Palmer cover and a solo performed on an iPad, the Lips exhibition was once again enjoyable as most suspected it would be.

One of the most anticipated acts of the festival, Amon Tobin was a prime example of ingenuity most prized by the spirit of Moogfest. The live show — which stands to transform the future of the concert experience — features an unusual structure made of large cubes that display intricate projections that are visually mapped upon the performance and in sync with the music put forth by Tobin, who performs from within the construction.

Words cannot do justice in regards to adequately representing the experience of witnessing the sight of machines seemingly break through cubes into constellations that dance harder to the music than the audience. While not the biggest act of the festival, Amon Tobin:ISAM had the large Civic Center packed full of old fans as well as new ones eager to see this creation.

Probably the most hyped shows of the festival was 70’s electronic punk band Suicide. Set to perform their debut album in it’s entirety for only the fourth time, there was a lot of chatter about the show. Even Flaming Lips front man, Wayne Coyne, got on the promosexual bandwagon, telling his audience that “this was the show to see.” While certainly a historic event, the show was not nearly as energetic as it once was. Then again, with a lead singer of who has surpassed his seventh decade on the earth, who can critique them on a lack on vigor?

Festival staple, Sound Tribe Sector 9 has been gaining insane momentum since the welcomed recovery of band member David Murphy. With a packed house, the genre-crossing psychedelic rock band put a heavy focus on their new material from the album When the Dust Settles. It was a unique set that allowed die hard fans to dance the night away as well as those exhausted from a full day in the cold to relax and enjoy the enthralling show.

While not one of the larger names of the festival, one treat I stumbled upon was Brandt Brauer Frick all the way from Berlin. This group, labeling themselves as “acoustic techno” closed out Saturday night with one of the most unique sets of the day. While it is hard to wrap your mind around the sound of “acoustic techno” the high energy trio created something akin to aboriginal club music, and the crowd lapped up with a vengeance.

Sunday

As Sunday morning came around, what should have been a tired and weary crowd came out in droves of bright eyed, excited groups in even more costumes than before. Beats Antique was the first big show of the day, and despite the weather not improving, Zoe Jakes was still able to take to the stage in lavish belly dance garb and shimmy her way into the hearts of the crowd. The most tantalizing act included whirling feats coupled with a haunting mask. And to the pleasure of anyone who has seen their recent shows, they ended with their every growing onstage animal party that both confuses and excites.

M83 was a huge surprise hit this year. The immediate phrase that came to mind was “dance club of your dreams.” Song after song, the group performed powerful synthesized tunes that seemed so much larger than what I believed possible in relation to their albums.

The persistently touring EOTO brought improved visuals that included joyously dancing robots and eyeballs to a packed Orange Peel. The ever developing improv brain child of String Cheese Incident’s Michael Travis and Jason Hann took a diverse world fusion dub that was both intriguing and fun to dance to. This, however, couldn’t compete with the show I was personally most excited about: Special Disco Version featuring James Murphy and Pat Mahoney.

With the recent demise of the infamous LCD Soundsystem super group, Moogfest fans who requested this influential band were given the extraordinary pleasure of this set. Even those who would not identify as a fan of disco were drawn into the atmosphere created. With futuristic aerial dancers hanging high above the crowd, roller-skating girls with LED afros and a massive disco ball that would make Studio 54 blush with envy, Murphy and Mahoney kept the high energy up until the very end.  It was a refreshing and gripping show for anyone — and there were many at Moog — that refuse to let disco die.

With the task of following a show like that, who else could perform but Austin, Texas based electro-funk duo,  Ghostland Observatory. Stealing the hearts and retinas of the audience, singer Aaron Behrens bounced around the stage while a caped Thomas Turner created an acoustically impressive show that was only rivaled by their renowned laser show. Executing an exceptional version of crowd favorite “Sad, Sad City,” the set continually pushed the bar and became another example of technological innovation in music capitulated by the festival on its whole.

With all of the music, raging, dancing and the like, the biggest pleasure of the festival happened to be — at best — only loosely related to the aforementioned; it was the presence of the modern Renaissance Man, Brian Eno, who NPR fondly dubbed the title “Mayor of Moogfest.” Presenting his exhibit, 77 Million Paintings — Eno’s exploration into light as an artist’s medium and the aesthetic possibilities of “generative software” — for the first time on the east coast at the YMI Cultural Center. In so presenting, Eno managed to add an all new element to the already abundant sensory experience that was and is Moogfest.

Within his Illustrated Talk, fans were graced with the insights and power of his newest creation as well as Eno’s astute and humorous thoughts on the future of technology in music and art. The exhibit, which Eno explains as exploring the relationship between time and attention to investigate the “threshold of eventlessness,” seems simplistic at first  but quickly sucked its audience into a deep and powerful experience that was quite unexpected.

Set within a dark room, viewers were sat in plush couches and exposed to a multifaceted and ever-evolving environment that strikes a deep primitive and almost ethereal cord. Despite the name, the number of paintings is something closer to 100 million…cubed.

“The piece you just really loved will never happen again.”

-Brian Eno

The addition of mastermind Brian Eno to the cumulative experience of Moogfest helped to set this festival one more step above expectations.

The exhibit will remain open to the public until November 30, 2011.

And as we say goodbye to another Moogfest and look back on all it has done and all it celebrates, it becomes increasingly impressive how remarkable the life and work of Bob Moog was. His work changed our relationship to music and how it interacts with our lives; and celebrating that on Halloween weekend in Asheville was the perfect fit.

 

Click the thumbnail(s) to view photos from the fest by Brad Kuntz

 

VOODOO 2011: A New Orleans Experience

“New Orleans.”  To mutter her name conjures up many thoughts and emotions. She is many things.

She is the place of friendly, flamboyant, blissful action.

She is her people — who work and play together — that fuel her spirit and perpetuate her mystery. 

New Orleans is food-a-plenty; her belly spills over with delicious delicacies of deliberately spicy delights. While her dishes are often imitated elsewhere, the true taste of New Orleans can be found in its quaint houses that have been converted to restaurants as well as in its roadside bistros. 

The people, the food, the atmosphere — yes, New Orleans is many things. But above all, New Orleans is music.

Continue reading VOODOO 2011: A New Orleans Experience

7 Walkers, 10/31/11

7 Walkers
Great American Music Hall
San Francisco, CA
October 31, 2011

 

Though only half of the 7 Walkers cast came out in costumes, there was no doubt that the celebration of the Halloween festivities was in full swing when they took the stage at San Fran’s Great American Music Hall.

On this night, Reed Mathis (Tea Leaf Green) — the bassist who is present on the self-titled album from 2010 — would fill out the low end duties alongside the 7 Walkers staples: legendary drummer and Grateful Dead co-founder Bill Kreutzmann, guitarist/funk crooner Papa Mali and multi-instrumentalist Matt Hubbard.

Susan Weiand was on the scene to capture the scenes from the event through her lens.

 

Setlist

I: Space > Someday You’ll See, Junco Partner, King Cotton Blues, I Know You Rider, Nobody’s Fault But Mine, Walk on Guided Splinters, He’s Gone, Goin Down The Road
II: Positively 4th St*, New Orleans Crawl, Bird Song, Werewolves of London, Sue From Bogalusa,
7 Walkers, Evangeline, Bottle Up and Go
Encore: Big Railroad Blues, Wharf Rat

*Performed with Bob Dylan impersonator

Click the thumbnail(s) to view photos from the show by Susan J. Weiand

Umphrey’s McGee, 10/29/11

Umphrey’s McGee
The Tabernacle
Atlanta, GA
October 29, 2011

 

As part of a two night sold-out run and in celebration of a night that supports disguises of all kinds, Umphrey’s McGee took over The Tabernacle for a thematic night that centered in mash-ups that began in the thoughtful costumes of the Chicago based prog-jam sextet and rolled through where it counts the most: the music.

The costumes:

Joel Cummins (keyboards) was dressed as Vince Neil Armstrong, Brendan Bayliss (guitar, vocals) was dressed as Richard Gene Simmons, Andy Farag (percussion) was dressed as Raggedy Andy Rooney, Ryan Stasik (bass) was dressed as Karate Kid Rock, Jake Cinninger (guitar) was dressed as Dimebag Daryl Hall and Kris Myers (drums) dressed as Pamela Anderson Cooper, with a red one piece bathing suit and short silvery hair.

The Music: 

On the heels of Death By Stereo, Umphrey’s was sure to work in a handful of tunes from the new album, but it was in the unique mash-up ensembles of tunes — that were as unlikely as the costumed players represented on stage — that proved to be the portion of the gig that will live on in the memories of UM fans for the foreseeable future and demonstrated the skill of a band that continues to shine. (See below for full setlist and notes)

 

Click here to download the soundboard recording of this show.
Click here to download an audience recording of this show.

Click the thumbnail(s) to download photos from the show by Ian Rawn

Setlist (Courtesy of Umphrey’s McGee)

I: Jazz Odyssey > 40’s Theme, Miami Virtue -> Push the Pig,  Mulche’s Odyssey > The Haunt > Jimmy Stewart* > Padgett’s Profile, The Floor, Addicted to Kiss**
II: Come As Your Kids$ > Mulche’s Odyssey, All In Time$$, Day Nurse, Resolution > 2×2, 1985 Wellwishing%
Encore I: Hajimemashite, In The Puppet Kitchen%%
Encore II: Nothing Too Fancy&

Notes
* with lyrics
** Kiss (Prince) + Addicted to Love (Robert Palmer) + I Can’t Dance (Genesis) mash-up
$ Kids (MGMT) + Come As You Are (Nirvana) + You Spin Me Right Round (Dead or Alive) mash-up
$$ with Crazy Train and The Fish (Yes) jams
% Nineteen Hundred and Eight Five (Wings) + Wishing Well (Terrence Trent D’Arby) + Wellwishers mash-up
%% Puppet Strings / In The Kitchen
& with Don’t Fear the Reaper jam

Photos: A Look Back at Widespread Panic in October

As Widespread Panic winds down toward what is now a confirmed “hiatus” — that will follow the upcoming acoustic Wood Tour — the veterans are showing no signs of slowing in the meantime.

With 21 October stops that primarily blanketed the deep south and the midwest, we sent two of our top senior photographers out to bring back images from the road and they both resoundingly answered the call.

So take a stroll down short-term memory lane as we look back at the widespread month of panic October through the photos of Ian Rawn and Amber Jennings.   

 

Alpharetta Setlist (Courtesy of Panic Stream)

10/08/11 Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park, Alpharetta, GA
I: All Time Low > Rock, Tickle the Truth, Dyin’ Man, Saint Ex, Impossible > I Walk On Guilded Splinters > Christmas Katie > Radio Child, Henry Parsons Died
II: Machine > Barstools and Dreamers, Goodpeople > Flat Foot Flewzy, Don’t Be Denied*, This Part Of Town*, Flicker > Jam > Papa’s Home > Drums > Papa’s Home, Driving Song > Superstition > Driving Song > Breathing Slow > Chilly Water
Encore: City of Dreams*, Love Tractor
* with John Keane on pedal steel

 

To download the soundboard recording of this show, click here.
To download or stream an audience recording of this show, click here.

 

Indianapolis Setlist (Courtesy of Panic Stream)

10/11/11 Murat Theatre, Indianapolis, IN
I: From The Cradle, Holden Oversoul, Stop-Go > Sleeping Man, Happy > Jaded Tourist, Down, Pleas > Proving Ground > Worry > Proving Ground
II: Papa Johnny Road, Climb To Safety, Time Waits For No One, Second Skin, Coconut, One Arm Steve, Action Man, St. Louis > Bear’s Gone Fishin’ > Pilgrims, Red Hot Mama
Encore: The Last Straw, Sometimes
[‘Time Waits’ rap by John Bell during “Stop-Go”]

 

For Amber’s full Honest Tune review of this show, click here.
To download the soundboard recording of this show, click here.
To download or stream an audience recording of this show, click here.

 

Click the thumbnail(s) to view photos from the shows by Amber Jennings & Ian Rawn