Editor’s Notes: Everyone please welcome Mike D (aka Easy D)!! A fellow music loving friend & writer who will be contributing his Jazzfest adventures, among other musical adventures, to the Tiny Rager blog! So, keep your eyes peeled and enjoy the shows 🙂 (PS: Hockey is the only sport I like to watch so I am going to let him rage the Hockey insert!)
Greetings from Pittsburgh! I am Mike Deasy, a 55 year old music fan, a live music fan, especially a New Orleans music fan, specifically a New Orleans funk fan. Or Easy D if you will. I am currently a displaced Information Technology professional after a 33 year run at a Fortune 500 Financial Services Corporation headquarted in NYC, which means I got a great severance. Which means I have been able to enjoy more music than usual over the last year and a half. Look for my perspective on the second weekend of the 41st New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, coming soon to a Tiny Rager blog near you (thanks Karen).
Did I mention that it’s playoff hockey time!! Sorry Rangers and Islanders fans, and sorry to you Devils fans too, ouch!! So, my evening started with Taco Tuesday at Fanattics, my neighborhood bar located in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Fanattics is fun! Neighbors such as Mike Tomlin, coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Randy Fichtner, formerly WR coach of the Steelers and the new Quarterback coach, stop in occasionally. Wait a minute, I was talking about hockey. Penguins 7 – Senators 4 in a wild game!
Next up, the South Side neighborhood for a show at the Rex Theater, a small venue and converted movie house. Vince Herman and the Great American Taxi!. I arrive at the door to see posters proclaiming the show as the ‘420 Ball’. Alright! Especially since I am wearing my Dead 2009 Goin Down the Road 420 t-shirt. The only time I have ever worn an event appropriate t-shirt.
Great American Taxi is fronted by Vince Herman of Leftover Salmon fame. A great bandleader. So enjoyed his performances at Delfest, an awesome bluegrass festival held in Cumberland, MD over Memorial Day weekend. Vince sings, plays acoustic guitar and mandolin. The rest of the band consists of:
Chad Staehly – keyboards and vocals
Jim Lewin – electric guitar (fender tele) and vocals
Edwin Hurwitz – bass and vocals on a great hillbilly funk song,
Chris Sheldon – drums and vocals
Fine musicians and singers all! The boys started out with two songs referencing 420. Opener was a train song called ‘420 Special’. After the 420 songs, right into Bob Dylan’s ‘Maggie’s Farm’. After that, there were many songs referencing, in no discernible order, drinking, smoking, etc.
I must say this band is very tight, at times jammy, at times bluegrassy, at times bluesy, always rockin’. Premiere musicians all. I did notice a few great songs from the new album ‘Reckless Habits’ (props to the smoking nuns on the cover): ‘One of These Days’ and ‘Cold Lonely Town’ and the event appropriate ‘Fuzzy Little Hippie Girl’.
Sometime earlier in the evening, I was calling for Little Feat’s ‘Don’t Bogart That Joint’. Such an overly obvious suggestion. Vince, the master, countered with the awesome Peter Rowan song ‘Lonesome LA Cowboy’ (smokin dope, snortin coke, tryin to write this song…)
What for an encore? My suggestion was good, but not complete. How about an encore of Little Feat’s ‘Willin’ followed by the aforementioned ‘Don’t Bogart’. What a great show!
Now, you’d think I’d cop a set list, right? Nope! As I found out after the show from keyboardist Chad, there was no set list. I did not see one on the stage. Said hello to Vince too. Chad pointed out that they’ve been backing up Todd Snyder (how about that!). Vince Herman and the Great American Taxi! gets the Easy D seal of approval. Check these guys out. They are awesome!
As always, I saw some old friends (pUNK of pUNKapalooza fame for one) and met some great new folks at the show. Best Tuesday I’ve spent in a while!
Peace Out and TTYS from NOLA,