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Archive for July, 2010

Central Park's Summer Stage: Check it out!

Central Park's Summer Stage: Check it out!

When I first found out that Stanley Clarke would be performing for FREE in Central Park’s Summer Stage, I immediately thought two things.  One, I must get into that show.  Two, I knew exactly who would be my plus one.

McCoy Tyner (Photo by: Dino Perrucci)

McCoy Tyner (Photo by: Dino Perrucci)

Working for the Parks Department, our partnership with the Central Park Conservancy allows for some really nice perks regarding Summer Stage performances.  So long as they are not benefits, I am able to plop onto the guest list of any show and bring a friend.  The cost of these perks are priceless to me.  (After this article I am moving onto the New York Philharmonic in Central Park….god, I love my job!)

Once I got on the list, I immediately invited my good friend, Nigel Hall.  Nigel’s first concert as a little boy was to see Stanley Clarke with his father.  My past connections to Stanley was strictly through my love for Fusion, which Nigel also shares.  Tonight was a lovely extension of  memories for both of us.  Those kind of moments are magical and it’s lovely to build on them.

The venue was set up with chairs in the front and blocked off sections for the “VIPs.”  I was rather early and I still didn’t have the ability to snag two seats. I only got one for myself and I hoped I could grab one later for Nigel.  The commotion over people Bogarting the seats and saving 10 seats at a time for people who hadn’t showed up was rather annoying.  If I had needed a seat immediately for a friend, I would have been in that commotion. Luckily, I was alone and accommodated haha.

Return to Forever

Return to Forever

I have never hidden the fact that I have a passionate connection to Fusion Jazz.  I have mentioned it numerous times in past articles.  Specifically, the group Return To Forever.  A group that defined Fusion and showcased some of the genre’s greatest talent.  Stanley Clarke is the bass player from that group.  Having seen Chick Corea at the Blue Note a few weeks earlier and having Al di Meola in town a few days later, the players of Return To Forever were spread out all over Manhattan and I was soaking it all up little by little.

On this semi-humid, sunny evening in Central Park, the Stanley Clarke Trio, featuring Hiromi, melted my brains.  However, not before McCoy Tyner Quarter, featuring Ravi Coltrane & Esperanza Spalding, geared us up!  OH MAN!!!

Francisco Mela (Photo by: Dino Perrucci)

Francisco Mela (Photo by: Dino Perrucci)

The McCoy Tyner Quartet featured:

McCoy Tyner – Piano
Esperanza Spalding – Stand Up bass
Francisco Mela – Drums
Ravi Coltrane – Saxophone

Seriously, the McCoy’s set could and SHOULD be an article all it’s own.  However, I just wanted to sit back and relax for McCoy’s set.  I knew I would be all over the place mentally when Stanley came on stage.  So, I sat back, relaxed, didn’t take notes and just absorbed what was taking place on stage. I actually am seated directly behind the female taking the below video!

Esperanza Spalding (Photo by: Dino Perrucci)

Esperanza Spalding (Photo by: Dino Perrucci)

The talent that was mind-blowing and the sounds were so eclectic and wonderfully brought together.  You had Afro-Cuban jazz composer and drummer Francisco Mela who was superb, locking down his drum solos each and every time and providing a wonderful session of beats for this insane jazz performance to groove too.  I can’t begin to describe his energy and talent.

I had never seen Esperanza Spalding before and I just wanted to BECOME her.  Commanding the center of the stage with all these great male musicians surrounding her, with this giant upright bass between her legs, biting her lower lip as she flew over the strings…IT WAS HOT!!  And it was almost impossible for me to not focus on her completely.  At 26 years old, her fingers move with the grace of an old soul and her sound parallels that. I mean come on…

Then we had Ravi Coltrane, son of John Coltrane, ripping apart the saxophone when his time came.  And this was just the opener…

Ravi Coltrane and Esperanza Spalding (Photo by: Dino Perrucci)

Ravi Coltrane and Esperanza Spalding (Photo by: Dino Perrucci)

The opening band consisted of the second son of luminaries John and Alice Coltrane on saxophone, a bass player hand-picked by President Barack Obama to play in Oslo Hall at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, a drummer hailed as “one of the most important Cuban drummers in jazz” by Jazz Times, and the bluesy stylings of McCoy Tyner.  UNREAL!!!!  I am almost always a hater on opening bands.  But this was a real treat.  This was talent opening for talent and this is the kind of music and performance I prefer to see.  HOT DAMN!!!

INTERMISSION

And then, after all that energy had been put into us, preparing us for the INSANITY that was about to take place…we were put on hold.  There was now a change of plans.  The show had attracted such enormous response that the outside of the venue had been swarmed with people.  A gentleman got on stage and said:

“I have good news and better news. ”  The good news is that there are hundreds of people at the bottom of the hill who want to be part of this lovely evening of music.  The better news is that we are going to stop for about 20 minutes and ask that you utilize the space around you so that we can provide entrance to more viewers.”

Stanley Clarke (Photo by: Dino Perrucci)

Stanley Clarke (Photo by: Dino Perrucci)

The venue was not even closed to being packed and I was in a chair so I wasn’t to worried.  At this point, Nigel was still in transit.  He had spent the day performing on free pianos all over the city.  Sadly, he missed one hell of a opener but his performances were well worth his delay getting to the show and you should check it out by clicking the link above.

Nigel arrived in plenty of time for Stanley’s set.  Perfect timing.  Two lovely gentlemen were sitting behind us wearing their Return To Forever shirts.  Nigel took their pictures on his phone!  We spoke of the coming Al Di Meola show at Highline Ballroom the following night and they already had their tickets.  Unfortunately, I was giving free tickets away through the Tiny Rager site but was unable to make it as I was heading to Phish that weekend.

After about half an hour delay, the stage started to buzz again and we were handed 2 1/2 hours of pure Jazz.  HELLZ YEAH!!!

The Stanley Clarke Trio:

Stanley Clarke – Bass
Ruslan Sirota – Keyboards
Ronald Bruner Jr. – Drums
Featuring: Hiromi Uehara – Piano

Hiromi (Photo by: Dino Perrucci)

Hiromi (Photo by: Dino Perrucci)

Stanley started the show off with Lopsy Lou.  Hitting us right in the face with the slaps of his bass and the snare drum tapping off the beat.  A great showcase of the bass and immediately I learned who the hell this Hiromi character was and what she was all about.  Some could say rager and some ragers might say showboat. Personally, I just have my jaw on the ground.

The words I want to use to describe her actions are as plain as SHE FREAKS THE F#@K OUT!!! Her entire body was involved, her entire mind was probably in outer space or in the keys…inside the piano…it is clearly an out of body experience for her when she plays.  There are no words strong enough to describe the insanity that is Hiromi when she plays for us.  Just take a look…and this doesn’t even scratch the surface of her raging…

At only 23 year old, Ronald Bruner Jr. blows my mind.  Beginning his professional career at the age of 15 at the Theolonius Monk Institute of Jazz, he has already played with huge Jazz legends.    His diverse drumming styles could be heard throughout the performance.

And then you had Stanley Clarke. The man of the hour.  If you closed your eyes, you felt as if you were listening to Stanley Clarke from 20 years ago.  He still has it.  Boy, does he still have it.  With his electric bass in hand, the group performed Charles Mingus‘s jazz standard, Goodbye Pork Pie Hat. Hiromi once again let loose and RIPPED OPEN her solo with the power and ferocity of an attack dog.  Check it out…

Stanley moved to the stand up has for a Return To Forever song called No Mystery.  I believe this song was originally written by Chick Corea so Hiromi started off the song with her plinking keys.  Initially, there was no bass.  During this song, Stanley had some technical difficulties.  You heard people in the audience shouting that we couldn’t hear the bass.  Nigel and I picked up on it immediately and just watched Stanley handle it in his smooth nature. He sat there looking a bit frustrated but sitting calmly, smoothly, smiling at us, letting Hiromi fill in his blanks.

Stanley Clarke - Bass!

Stanley Clarke - Bass!

After some commotion on stage, Stanley throws his hands up and then we heard it.  The bass was fixed and Stanley was projected out to us once again.   Ronald Jr. wiped his face as Stanley thanked the Tech and proceeds to take his solo.  And man did he make up for those lost minutes.

While no one else was shouting or jumping out of their chair, Nigel and I proceeded to be moved by the music numerous times bringing us out of our seats and hollering like wild kids at the stage.  Sure, this was a jazz show.  We were surrounded by people who would have preferred silence and a nice seated audience but that is NOT what was going to be happening with us tonight.  This was powerful shit.  This is the stuff that made us move and you can forget the manners and civility that is supposed to come with these shows.  After the third time jumping up out of our seats Nigel shouts: “Go head Stanley.”  Man, this was such a change of pace from the FUNK.

Roland Jr

Ronald Bruner Jr. - Drums

The drums held it down while mic was changed on Stanley’s bass. Hiromi continued to rage the keys.  Nigel and I bickered over the antics Hiromi threw at us while playing.  The way that girl raged, she would most certainly  knock over that wine on the Temperpedic commercials. Nigel is from the old school of playing the keys and feel that those kind of shenanigans while playing are not necessary.  On the other hand, I felt that her playing was modern, new, fresh and would entice and energize the younger parts of the crowd who might be sitting there bored because their parents drug them to this show.

Ruslan

Ruslan Sirota - Keyboards

The next song was fast jazz with a Broadway bounce. Our real first taste of Ruslan on his Yamaha Motif.   He raged some insane fusion keyboards for a few min and Stanley cooly crushed it in the backdrop.  Such an unusual sound.

Nigel loved Ruslan so much more thne Hiromi but Ruslan truly didn’t bring the heat that Hiromi did and we both verbally voiced that wish.  We were  both out of our seats for part of his solo while the whole placed sat quietly.

Hiromi's kicks...

Hiromi's kicks...

Stanley felt it and we felt it in him.  So many faces while Stanley raged slap acoustic bass and then Ruslan FINALLY brought the heat but not moving even half as much as Hiromi.  There was absolutely no flair with this guy but he was clearly talented and GREAT!

Stanley switched to using a bow on the bass for Paradigm Shift.  A nice slow, slow start to the song.  A shifty song that bounced back and forth between chaos and sanity.  Pleasent vs wild.  Nigel points out: “He’s had that same part in his hair for 30 yrs.”  Ruslan’s legs shook so hard and Stanley plucked the bass so deep. I loved this song.  Ronald was fast and chaotic.

This song made me think of lights.  I imagined the lift show if there was one. Oh Stanley. As we watched him pluck those strings soooo very fast, we joked about how we bet his wife loves the way he plucks those strings.  The slow inclinations were impeccable.

Set list…Lopsy Lou, Goodbye Park, No Mystery, Black Narcisuss, Good Bye Pork Pie, Paradigm Shift

Our View of Stage!

Our View of Stage!

The Stanley Clarke Trio performance featuring Hiromi might just have to be one of my top 5 performances of 2010.  It is a style of music that resonates with me harder then Funk, harder then anything.  I was watching the show with someone who I knew was appreciating every single drop of sound that was coming from the stage and I loved that.  The weather had turned cool and lovely.  It was just lovely.  At the end of the performance Nigel and I just stared at each other and smiled.  What a perfect night of music.

City Parks Foundation’s Summer Stage

CareFusion Jazz Series

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Rocks Off Cruise Ships

Rocks Off Cruise Ships

Walking to Boat...

Walking to Boat...

How excited was I?? I had just spent a day at the New Jersey Shore and had come right from the Transit train directly to a boat on the East River to see Cornmeal, a jam-rock-bluegrass band, for the first time.

I had been hearing of this band for MONTHS!!!  Nothing but great things.  Once it was announced that they would be performing on Jam Cruise 9 I knew I had to check them out.  Even better, I had never been on Rocks Off Concert Cruise Lines so this was going to be a night of many firsts.

The Marco Polo Cruise Line

The Marco Polo Cruise Line

Not 24 hours earlier, Cornmeal had played for 15,000+ people at the All Good Music Festival in Masontown, West Virginia. And now here they were playing for us…maybe 75 people?  Quite a drastic change.

Foooooood.....

Foooooood.....

Rocks Off Concert Cruise Lines Series is a groups of various sized ships that leave from either the East or West sides of Manhattan and travel up and down the East River or Hudson River while a band performs in the belly of the boat.

More food...

More food...

Upon entering the ships, you are immediately in the “Hospitality” area which held the bar and food.  It is cash only so be prepared…I was not.   There were empanada, turkey wraps, rice, pasta and salad.  The women working behind the counter were cheerful and bright.  When I went to take their picture one of them ran away.   I didn’t have anything to eat but my friends did munch on some empanadas.  They were not that impressed but it served it’s purpose.

Hanging with Chris prior to show...

Hanging with Chris prior to show...

One of the positives that was made clear right off the bat is the fact that the space is so intimate that the band members were mingling all around us.  This allowed for numerous conversations, introductions and commotion between all of us.  One of the other positives is that I felt like I was on a mini Jam Cruise for a night.  It was lovely.

Allie Kral and Tiny Rager :)

Allie Kral and Tiny Rager 🙂

The staff was more pleasant and accommodating. First of all, the drinks are $8 and I only had $7.  The bartender was like, “Oh, that is fine. I will make you a drink anyway.”  That drink was soooooooo strong, my girlfriend kept telling me to go get more Cranberry in my Vodka Cranberry.

Another great staff moment, the intern who was running the merchandise table agreed to let me put my traveling bags behind her table so long as she wasn’t responsible for them.  This was perfect since I had just come off the train from the beach and wasn’t able to drop my things off at home first.  Finally, there is parking all around the docks but you can also reach the boats by all forms of public transportation.

Stage prior to show...

Stage prior to show...

Luckily for those of us in attendance, the weather was cooperating with a light breeze and low humidity.  Unfortunately, I didn’t really feel much circulation within the belly of the boat where the band performs and found myself constantly having to leave the stage area to get some air outside on the bow of the boat.

Cornmeal

Introducing Cornmeal...

Introducing Cornmeal...

“Wavy” Dave Burlingame – Banjo,Vocals
Kris Nowak – Guitar,Vocals
Chris Gangi – String Bass, Vocals
JP Nowak – Drums, Vocals
Allie Kral – Fiddle, Vocals

Noted as a Bluegrass Jam band out of Chicago, Illinois, I knew that I was going to like their sound.  I was just hoping they were as tight and off the hook as I had been told.  They blew me away immediately, effortlessly sliding between the two styles and by the end of their first song, Heaven on Time, I was singing their praises.

Took off down the East River

Took off down the East River

The first set was 45 minutes. During that time, the boat left port and traveled down the East River towards the Statue of Liberty.  Aside from the heat, it was difficult to focus on the band as we traveled due to the lovely scenery catching my eye out all the windows.  Just a beautiful backdrop for a lovely night of music.  How had I never been on these boats before?  What the hell had kept me away so long?

Cornmeal aboard Rocks Off Cruise

Cornmeal aboard Rocks Off Cruise

With the banjo and the stand up bass driving the bluegrass vibe, Johnny Put Down Your Gun was next.  A wonderful jammy tune about a renegade.  We all got a little bit of Johnny in us I think.

Johnny was born in old Kentuck
High in the hills of Northern Boone
Folks been sayin’ since he’s a baby
Johnny was born to break the rules

Traveling down the East River

Traveling down the East River

Kris Nowak-Guitar,Vocals

Kris Nowak (Photo credit: Courtney Astrid Mendenhall)

There was numerous times that I felt I heard horns.  Perhaps it was my state of mind and my constant want to hear horns in any group. Instead, Cornmeal uses numerous pedals and contraptions to create distinct sounds that otherwise their instruments wouldn’t make without help.  Kris Nowak in particular made his guitar sound lovely morphing between jamming out and the bluegrass measures.  Chris Gang proceeded to tell us how this is their 10th year playing together and how proud they are of this accomplishment.  We all cheered and I wondered how I had never heard of them until this year.

Cornmeal aboard Rocks Off Cruise

Cornmeal aboard Rocks Off Cruise

JP Nowak – Drums, Vocals

JP Nowak (Photo credit: Courtney Astrid Mendenhall)

During Long Hard Road, we came around Battery Park and idled at the tip of Manhattan.  I couldn’t help but be a little overwhelmed. There we were, floating in a boat only a few hundred yards away from the Statue of Liberty.  These moments are never wasted on me and at that moment, everyone was on the bow of the ship taking in the scenic views.  From the stage I heard: “We are going to take a short break now and come enjoy the view with yall.”    And then Cornmeal was by my side, taking pictures with my friends, holding conversations with everyone.  What a great thing.

More views of the East River...

More views of the East River...

The boat itself is very liberal with what they allow to go on.  Watching the band try to keep their balance was quite entertaining.  Attempting to stand myself was difficult and I wasn’t drinking. You can imagine how tipsy the other patrons on the boat were who were imbibing heavily.  On the other hand, tonight, there were numerous Wharf Rats on the ship.  Wharf Rats is a twelve-step program which met at shows and helps people stay sober.  On such a small boat, I felt a little bad partaking in my festivities around them.

And she sings too...

And she sings too...

Kris Nowak-Guitar,Vocals

Kris Nowak-Guitar,Vocals

Over the years, I have enjoyed the friendships of numerous Wharf Rats (or other various sober organizational members) who understand we are not all sober and that some of us still party…I like to call it “Raging Responsibly”.  Tonight, there were a few people who seemed to be all out MEAN to those of us enjoying ourselves.  I was shocked.  One girl was complete pissing and moaning about not being able to drink while another one verbally voiced her disgust when people lit up.  I find that completely uncalled for, personally.  No one was blowing cigarette smoke in anyone’s face or anything.  Peopel were being

I found out later that Cornmeal took home a Jammy Award in 2008 for Best New Groove.  This makes complete sense.  The artists that comprise this band are technically charged and brilliant.  Let’s talk about these amazing musicians.

Allie Kral of Cornmeal on Rocks Off

Allie Kral (Photo credit: Courtney Astrid Mendenhall)

First I have to go with the female of the band. The fiddle player, Allie Kral.  ALLIE KRAL!!  WHAT???  WHAT???  Are you kidding me?  I have never seen a female violinist’s arm move so fast. I have never been so captivated by a female violinist so fast.  It can genuinely be feared that her arm might fly right out of the socket and knock my ass out.  She is phenomenal.  Her speed is riveting, her precision of sound is right on point.

The view from the boat...I need a better camera

The view from the boat...I need a better camera

Then you have “Wavy” Dave Burlingame, the banjo player.  Oh man, where do I being?  He was incredible as well.  Flashes of Bela and others came to mind with this guy’s work.  I wish I could describe the sounds.  With his laid-back vibe radiating off his posture, his fingers flew over the strings to create a integral sound for the group.

Kris Nowak & “Wavy” Dave Burlingame

Kris Nowak & “Wavy” Dave Burlingame

During intermission, I was introduced to the Railroad Earth sound guy.  I completely forgot his name but his face is so unique I will most certainly be able to pick him out of a crowd if we ever cross paths again.  There was lots of talk of Jam Cruise being that Cornmeal was on the boat this year and even more talk about how people get on the boat working under a band.

Cornmeal on Rocks Off Cruise

Cornmeal on Rocks Off Cruise

Cornmeal on Rocks Off Cruise

Cornmeal on Rocks Off Cruise

Set List!!

Set List!!

For the encore, Cornmeal RAGED the Allman Brother‘s Whipping Post at some point.  That might have been my favorite song of the night.  I mean, they really really crushed this cover jamming at times and raging their bluegrass vibe as Allie Kral’s arm moved over the strings so fast I could not even consider getting a clear shot of her.

The entire vibe of the night was perfection. The weather was flawless, the scenery was gorgeous, the music was the best of both worlds…WE WERE ON A BOAT!! A GREAT date night adventure if you ask my opinion. Get on it guys…

Set I: Heaven on Time, Johnny, Pennies in the River, Dig A Hole, On My Own, Long Hard Road

Set II: River Gap, Calling Me Back Home, Not At Home Anymore, Walk (Don’t Look Back),

Encore: Molly & T, Whipping Post

Rocks Off Cruise Pictures

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Les Claypool @ The Brooklyn Bowl (06.08.10)

Artist: DAVID WELKER

Artist: DAVID WELKER

Patiently waiting to be played...

Patiently waiting to be played...

Another wonderful night of music at the Brooklyn Bowl.  Having just seen Les Claypool at Mountain Jam just two days earlier, I knew I would be seeing a lot of the same set list/performance.  However, to me, the beauty about a Les Claypool‘s show is that even though his set list remains the same, his sounds and interpretations of his owns songs stretch beyond his own imagination.  He brings a lighter version of a dark sound to my ears, brings some freaky humor to my eyes and pushes the boundaries of his own music. There are people who will argue that Les Claypool brings innovations to  almost every performance while others feels that it’s “the same old  thing.”  I am a believer in the first opinion. And this show was particularly amazing.  I ADORE Les Claypool.

Stage, Pre-Show

Stage, Pre-Show

Les Claypool is widely known as the bass player from the 90’s group Primus.    If that doesn’t ring a bell, then perhaps you know the South Park Theme? That is Primus!  Fungi is just one of the many projects that Les Claypool entertains.  These days, Claypool is dabbling with his solo creations – specifically  the album “Of Fungi and Foe.”

The   Brooklyn Bowl - Bowling Lanes shot

The Brooklyn Bowl - Bowling Lanes shot

The Brooklyn Bowl was the PERFECT spot for this performance.  Having been forced to see Les Claypool at Terminal 5 last year, I could go on forever on the positives of the Bowl.  First of all, OVER 21 ONLY!  Last year, my friends and I attended the Terminal 5 show, an under 21 venue.  Yall know the front row is our spot.  Within minutes of the show starting the mosh pitting was so far out of control that not only myself, but my other taller, larger friends were having to be pulled out of the front row over the banister before we got crushed.  It was horrible.  This spectacle is an unfortunate addition to a Claypool show because his younger followers just don’t understand what they are listening to.

One of my FAVORITE Ragers: les Claypool!

One of my FAVORITE bass Ragers: Les Claypool!

Please, let me be very clear.  Les Claypool HATES mosh-pitters, thrash dancing or any other general moronic moves that would interfere with the rest of this fans enjoying his show.  He makes numerous points to stop his show, in mid-song, to point out the needless act of mosh-pitting and is comical yet obviously serious in his deliveries to the audience.  Keep reading to see what he did to “Mr. Bald Man” during the show!

THE HOT HEAD SHOW

Jordan Copeland – Guitar and Monologues
Vaughn Stokes – Bass
Maxwell  “Betamax” Hallett – Drums

The Hot Head Show

The Hot Head Show

The opener of the show was Hot Head Show, a trio from London, England.    The lead guitarist is actually the son of The Police drummer, Stewart Copeland and Curved Air‘s Sonja  Kristina.  It is a wonder that Les Claypool doesn’t understand the crowd’s reactions to his music when he invites  groups like this to open for his show.  Personally, this was just a loud 30 minute mess used to get us rowdy.  There was a pretty bass solo at one point but other wise the music was a headache.  An utter headache.  After reading about them, their reviews are actually positive and were even billed as “the best band you have never heard of.”  UGH! I am sorry but I really hate being screamed at by a band on stage.  I felt like they were unstructured and wild at first but came to realize that is their style.  A style I am not fond of but go check them out and make your own decision.

Les Claypool’s Fungi

Les Claypool – Bass & Whamola
Mike Dillon – Xylophone & percussion
Sam Bass – Electric chello
Paulo Baldi – drums

Sam Bass on Cello @ Brooklyn Bowl

Sam Bass on Cello @ Brooklyn Bowl

Coming out to the stage, Les Claypool’s face was the only one not covered by masks that covered everything but their mouths.  It’s quite odd and just what  I expect from my #1 Quirk.

The first song out the hatch was Highball with the Devil.  With the swipes of his bass, Claypool immediately struck us with the familiar tune and his signature sound.  This song always makes me think of an army marching and his lyrics are them chanting.

Come the morning
We’ll be waiting
and weilding the power
to paralyze
So we state now
for the records
you brought this upon you
Paralyze, agonize, terrorize

There was beautiful cello play in here by Sam Bass on his electric cello.  I feel a cello, such a classical instrument, brings an interesting layer to this kind of music that seems rather naughty and hard. Being that it was electric makes it a perfect pairing.  Then you had Mike  Dillon who wasted no time busting out a Xylophone solo while using four mallets.  All the while, Claypool whomped on his bass bringing us that menacing tune with his cartoony voice singing the lyrics.  And so it began…..

Mike Dillon and Paulo Baldi

Mike Dillon and Paulo Baldi

Through monstrous applause, Claypool immediately went into Duchess And The Proverbial Mind Spread which brought in chunky strings with Sam Bass on his cello.  I really love the use of strings in Les Claypool’s music.  Such a pretty cello and Claypool’s bass was seductive.  There was a bit of drum banter here between Mike  Dillon and Paulo Baldi.  And boy, it sure didn’t take long for Claypool to have to give his speech.

Sam Bass and Paulo Baldi @ Brooklyn Bowl

Sam Bass and Paulo Baldi @ Brooklyn Bowl

The banter between the instruments on a Claypool stage is awesome.  As Les was building into the song, he leaned over to the mic and in his   cartoon-y voice exclaims, “We are playing in a blowing alley” and he changes to the electric bass for Amanitas.  But before getting stared Claypool exclaims:

Sorry, just checking the score board over here. Seein what kinda action we got goin’.  Think I might put a little money down…that guy Germ has a…he’s up right now…got a little thing going on over there. ALRIGHT JIM!  Let’s see what you got…

This song reminds me of a sick version of Teddy Bears Have a Picnic. You know the kids song? Or perhaps The Wizard of Oz when the army is like “yo-hoo, yo-hoo.” There was a great drum rage by Paulo Baldi here.  Claypool did his little dance where we fast walks in a circle a few times while playing. The cello on this song is drawing, like it’s calling something out.  Mike   Dillon‘s percussion rage with xylophone was awesome.  And about three minutes into the song, Claypool has to have a talk with  Mr. Bald Guy. Luckily, someone got it on camera so I don’t have to type  it all out…


My favorite song to sing of Claypool’s is David Makalaster. A song about television newscaster but that speaks a strong message.  Just one of my favorite songs because it’s such a raw, funky song and yet it has a fun, feisty message against what some might feel is a harsh tune.  There is generally always a sing along when the chorus is sung.

Isn’t it awfully nice
To live in a world
where everything’s exactly how it seems?
We live in a world
where all you have to do is sit around and dream
About the things that make you happy
about the things that make you smile
Sit back, relax, apathy’s back in style

Les Claypool @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Les Claypool @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Paulo Baldi @ Brooklyn Bowl

Paulo Baldi @ Brooklyn Bowl

A typical move in the set list, they went right into Southbound Pachyderm which totally makes me think about James Bond at times. Perhaps this song should be used to open a James Bond movie. They opened for South Park so… It was during this song that I noticed that a cymbal or two was broken on Mike Dillon’s rig.  Most definitely not a mistake.  During Bass’s cello solo, he raged his solo to the highest note before a few strings broke.  And it was back into the end of David Makalaster.

Bringing in his upright bass, he took one pluck of the instrument and brought out his bow. Always changing it up. Intermittently using the bow and his fingers, Red State Girl was next.   Dillion was on a pair of tiny bongos and at some point Sara Palin was mentioned.  They all played with their pedals at the end of this song makes those unusual sounds we come to hear at these shows.

Les Claypool & Mike Dillon

Les Claypool & Mike Dillon

As Claypool leaves the stage, Precipitation begun with Baldi‘s drums.  And then out walks a pig.  Claypool in one of his many masks.  Still on the upright, Les continued to use the bow to make and otherwise classically played instrument sound like a moaning bear before Dillon responds with his mallets. Claypool taps his bass with the bow making a lovely and specific sound to entertain the songs melody.

Les Claypool @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Les Claypool @ The Brooklyn Bowl

And then we were given the drummer rage.  Always one of my favorite parts of any musical night.  Dillon went crazy on everything he had around him.  He rubbed a metal can on the inside with his fingers.  There was an insane xylophone rage. Check it out…

And then Claypool left the stage again and the drums raged for a good 5 minutes. I had a great video of this and all three times I have tried to upload it, it has failed.  Sadly…

RAGER!!!

RAGER!!!

AWESOME!

AWESOME!

Then out walks a monkey.  Literally walking with his knuckles dragging on the ground.  Claypool in another one of his many personae.  I wonder if his masks get names.  He picks up a long piece of wood with a piano string attached at the top and a handle at the top.  I think it’s called a level and a pickup?  Correct me if I am wrong.  Luckily, this video uploaded:

Booneville Stomp ushered in the Les and his Bas Dorbo, a beautiful piece of wood with a metal plate for a front.  Claypool’s unique voice .  The beat reminded of galloping horses and one by one each instrument joined the race and they were just hitting the same beat and crescendo-ing until they came to a fast STOP.  AHHHHH! Claypool screamed a few things and the crowd screamed.  Mike Dillon wasn’t hitting anything at this point.  He was dancing all around his rig the entire time. When he did finally play, his mallet when flying out of his hand and he didn’t miss a bet before grabbing another one.

Les Claypool and Mike Dillon @ Brooklyn Bowl

Les Claypool and Mike Dillon @ Brooklyn Bowl

Nice shoes...no?

Nice shoes...no?

One Better / The Awakening / One Better brought it back to the electric bass with the signature thump and pluck.  And once again, a gorgeous cello.  Claypool pulled a few more of those wicked dance moves of his circling on the rug.  Two strings on stage: a cello and a bass. Two sets of percussion on stage: drums and a xylophone.  No guitars and no keys yet represented by the instruments on stage.  It’s just an odd combination of instruments that create such an odd combination of sound that makes these songs so damn unique.  It creates the ability to also work with and around what he has always created to bring new things to the songs each show.  Once an innovator, always an innovator.  Dillon took this time to dance as well….check it out…

Riddles Are Abound Tonight was great because it was on my friend’s wish list to be played.  Claypool danced around a ton during this song and everyone sang along at times.  Sam Bass truly brought it during this song.  Just a great composition by Claypool.  Each person took their turn giving us their best solo.

After the encore break, Claypool approached the mic and proceeds to tell us the next song, a Rush Cover song called Spirit of the Radio, would be an obscure “Sly and the  Family Stone tune.”

“You know, this one’s for all the babes.  Because that is what really counts in life.  ANd this is an obsure Sly and the Family Stone song.  Kinda takes me back to the Oakland sounds…that Oakland Soooouuuul sound.  And a lot of people didn’t know this is a Sly and the Family but it actually is. And if you don’t believe me you can Wikipedia it because Wikipedia is the only true source of accurate information that we have on this planet today. “

Another show down… My year is not complete unless I see Les Claypool in some capacity at least once. Twice within a week was heaven to my ears and excitement to my eyes.  Another great show 🙂

Set List: Highball with the Devil, Duchess And The Proverbial Mind Spread, Amanitas, David Makalaster I>, Southbound Pachyderm>, David Makalaster I, Red State Girl, Precipitation, Jam/Drums, Booneville Stomp, One Better / The Awakening / One Better, Riddles Are Abound Tonight, [encore break], The Spirit Of Radio (Rush)

DownloadLes Claypool’s Fungi @ The Brooklyn Bowl (06.08.10)

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PHISH TOUR 2010: 4th Show

Phish = RAGING PARTY!!!

Phish = RAGING PARTY!!!

Trey Anastasio ~ Guitar

Jon Fishman ~ Drums

Mike Gordon ~ Bass

Page McConnell ~ Organ

Leaving out of Penn Station...

Leaving out of Penn Station...

Only seven days earlier I was treated to my first Phish show (Phish @ Hartford, CT (06.18.10)) and miracled into the two that followed (Phish @ SPAC, NY (06.19.10) & Phish @ SPAC, NY (06.20.10). Now, only a week later,  I was totally feeling the itch of withdrawal from the party I was introduced to; another wonderful extension of the party that is my life.

New Jersey Transit

New Jersey Transit

Getting on the New Jersey Transit train on Friday afternoon, I had no idea I was about to be handed an opportunity that many would pay tens of thousands of dollars to experience.  Somewhere between NYC and Camden, NJ, a member of our teenage posse produced an extra All Access Pass laminate and placed it around my neck.  I was later told that this had been planned out and discussed prior to me arriving to meet the group.  Heavy 🙂  At the time, however, it seemed excited and immediate.  That is because it was supposed to go down with my friend handing it over to me but instead our member of the teenage posse was so excited she couldn’t wait.  How cute is that? There were many of us, but only one extra pass.  I felt honored, I truly did.  To be entrusted with such a heavy responsibility.  Because that is exactly what it is, a responsibility.  Raging responsibility was a must now, not just a choice.  If I had learned one thing during the first few shows, discretion and commanding a ghostly nature were the only way to rage backstage with Phish.  It is dry and sober backstage.  Fully.

~ Initial Backstage Rage! ~

The Pearly White gate to backstage...

The Pearly White gate to backstage...

Susquahana Bank Center, Camden, NJ

Susquahana Bank Center, Camden, NJ

We walked through the gate, our bags weighing us down but our spirits lifted so high we were floating.  Walking in, I spotted Trey Anastasio out of the corner of my eye but continued to walk. “Trey’s outside.” I say to Jay.  “Really? Excellent,” says Jay.    He takes me back outside and Jay gives Trey the biggest smile.  Trey’s face in recognition of Jay got so wide and bright, smiles abounded and they hugged.  Then Trey turns to me, as Jay introduces me, and gave me the same giant hug.  Finally, he turns to Josh, holding up a stack of papers and says, “I am doing my homework.” And walks inside.

Tour buses just outside Backstage

Tour buses just outside Backstage

The Dressing Rooms

The Dressing Rooms

We followed in search for a place to lie down our bags and passed Trey in the Catering Lounge.  He was holding up the papers to the teenage posse saying, “Look at all the tapestries this guys has!  Anyone with that many tapestries, I wanna make a record with.”  Laughter.  (This was the only time that I felt comfortable taking a picture with Trey and I kind of froze up instead.  Just the hug would have to suffice. )

My Favorite Poster backstage.

My Favorite Poster backstage.

We find a spot to lay down our bags out of the way of everything past the dressing rooms.  There were amazing framed concert posters along the walls in the hall.  Once again, the dressing room doors were open and there were scattered childrens toys everywhere.  I imagined what this scene looked like 10 years ago.  I imagined it would be just where I wanted to be, in the life of the most raging backstage party there ever has been.  Jay was there, I have heard the stories.

We head back to the Catering area to say Hi to some friends and grab a bite to eat.  The spread was delicious.  There were meat, cheese and fruit platters, all kinds of cake and cookies, pork chops and casseroles.  Hot and cold.  Sweet and savory.  I bet the wives LOVE not having to cook 🙂  It also made me wonder what the demands of the band might be in terms of things they want in their dressing rooms and for their children.

~ !! Happy Birthday Richard!! ~

Happy Birthday to Richard!

Happy Birthday to Richard!

The Set List Birthday cake!

The Set List Birthday cake!

I wasn’t eating because I was too excited.  I was anxiously waiting to get back to the parking lot to hang with our krewe.  After a few minutes, I noticed the traffic in the Catering Hall get a bit busy.  There seemed to be a bustling.  A large cake was brought in and all of a sudden Trey, Page, Mike and John were all in the same room together.  People were all crowded around Richard, Phish’s manager.  It was his birthday.  Everyone sang Happy Birthday to him and he let Mike Gordon’s daughter blow out the candles as Mike bent her over the cake.

Trey is always Smiling!

Trey is always Smiling!

~ Sound Board vs. Sound Room ~

So, this was cool.  While we were backstage at SPAC, there was a room I noticed while using the restrooms where there was a TV with a video of Trey, wonderful sound coming from the room and what appeared to be soundboards.  I took a pic from afar and wondered.  During the first night of Camden, Jay made friends with the gentlemen who was in the room.   His name was John.  Today, I was taken to the room and got a breakdown on what it all meant.

John's Sound Room

John's Sound Room

Basically, when a show is taking place, there is a sound engineer who maintains the sound board inside the venue.  It is his/her job to make sure the audience is hearing the best quality sound that the venue can produce for that performance.  Now, this special room backstage was for a whole different beast of the same nature.  It is John’s job is to mix and master the quality of sound coming from the stage for the RECORDINGS that will be produced for sale after the performance.

John's Sound Room

John's Sound Room

Having researched Phish site after writing the previous articles, I found that the Phish website updates the set list every 30 seconds while a show is occurring.  Then, only a few hours later, the recordings for each song are posted as well.  So, this was just one of those musical wonderland facts that I never knew.

~ Stage Rage #1: Prior to Show ~

Phish's Stage! (Sorry so dark)

Phish's Stage! (Sorry so dark)

Fully raging!

Fully raging!

After we put our things down, we were walking to head back to our friends when we spotted the door open to the stage.  I walked out.  Not too far at first.  And then a little further and a littler further until I was right behind Fishman’s drum kit and just kinda froze. I was standing on Phish’s stage.

Fishman's Drumset

Fishman's Drum Set

The power that resonated through me as I imagined the place full of ADORING fans in front of me, the lights flying around behind me and the jamming having commenced.  Insanity.  INSANITY.  For those of your who watch Trey, you see his face…you know what he is feeling. You have watched the documentaries of him basically saying that he gets completely off on his performances.  Musical orgasm after musical orgasm.  It’s written all over his face, in his lyrics and comes out of his fingers.  Standing there, I just couldn’t even put myself in their place. I couldn’t fathom the hugeness of it all.  I remember dancing on stage to Dumpstaphunk back in April, recalling the feeling of sickness and excitement I felt after exiting the stage.  It was overwhelming.  I remember it distinctly as I shook like a leaf.  This was too much for me to imagine.  Not sure what the rules were or how far I was able to venture, I stuck towards the stage door and shot a few pictures from that area.

Waiting patiently...

Waiting patiently...

The part I loved the VERY MOST…the lights.  Chris Kurodas’ canvas.   They were all placed facing in their upright positions…waiting patiently.  I love seeing instruments/equipment on an empty stage because their energy resonates with me.  I can feel them wanting to be played.  I could FEEL these lights itching to be manipulated.

The lawn prior to the show!

The lawn prior to the show!

~ !!Parking Lot Rage!! ~

As we left the birthday celebration, Jay, who is just excited as I was, proceeds to tell me how wonderful and rare that moment just was.  Apparently, since a family atmosphere has replaced the partying, it is rare that all four members of the band are in the same room at one time like that.  In addition, Trey is rarely out of his dressing room.  He hides away most of the time…so I was told.

Parking Lot rage!!

Parking Lot rage!!

Lot Rage!

Lot Rage!

We walked back through the gates to meet up with our krewe.  Tonight’s group was massive.  So many people I knew were at these shows.    Phish really does have a death grip on people in the JamBand Community.  For some,Phish is the end-all-be-all of our music community.  And for New Yorkers, well, we are truly blessed to be in the epicenter of all things surrounding music.  We have the majority of Phish shows  on our coast and NYC is in the middle of them all.  Wonderful.  Even more wonderful, I now had this little bit of power around my neck that would allow me to rage all over the venue tonight with all my friends without any hassle.

I used this time to play catch up, pre-game and set up various plans as far as knowing where people were initially seated and where I can grab them when the time came to get everyone together in our seats.  The cops rolled through the lots frequently and yet my friend was selling beer out of his truck which promoted so many lovely conversations.  A large percentage of folks asked us how we got our laminates while the others just started offering us money for them.   It was so bizarre to me. While I appreciated the pass around my neck, I felt that many of these folks deserved it so much more then I did.  The super fans.  I was not taking it for granted, but I also wasn’t flipping my lid over it.

Looks like more people came... :)

An hour later = venue packed!

Stage prior to Show!

Stage prior to Show!

Everyone walked in separately but pretty soon we would all be together.  Jay and I walked into the show through the backstage entrance.  After a quick bathroom break, I peeked into the Catering Hall and there was Trey again.  Surrounded by his teenage superfan base (Members of The Leadheads and THOR) Trey was playing a mandolin for them.  Just strumming and coming up with things on the spot.  The teenage posse comprised mainly of teenage boys all smiling adoringly and giggling.  “We are just getting started,” I heard Trey say as I left for our seats.  Neil Diamond was playing as we found our seats for the night.  That was funny to me.  We had five in a row that would magically expand in a matter of songs.

Let the games begin...

Let the games begin...

~ !! Let The Show Begin !! ~

The kicked off the show with Alumni Blues into Letter To Jimmy Page back into Alumni Blues. Phun Fact #421: This was the first Alumni Blues since July 24, 1999 (222 shows ago). Phun fact #567: This was the first Letter to Jimmy Page since July 15, 1994 (587 shows ago) .  I didn’t really pay much attention to the first few songs as I used this time to gather up my people.  The venue grounds were now my playing field and Lauren and Meredith were first to be grabbed.  Somewhere behind the soundboard, I ran into Zegs as I was looking for my girls.  The seats in the stadium were so odd behind the soundboard and to get to the middle of a row was strangely impossible.  So, here come the girls, climbing over all the rows to get to me.  So silly but they were on a mission.

Dancing on the Soundboard :)

Dancing on the Soundboard 🙂

~ !! DANCING ON SOUNDBOARD!! ~

Soundboard rage!

Soundboard rage!

As if having an All Access Backstage Pass for this show wasn’t the pinnacle of my music going adventures, the next few songs would stick in my head forever.  They will possibly hold the top spot for me as a very special time in my music-going adventures.

Towards the beginning of Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, Jay and I took off for the soundboard.  AHHHHHHH!!!!   This was it.  I was about to watch Chris Kuroda LIVE from only a few feet, no, inches away!!  If I have said it once, I have said it a million times: Chris Kuroda is my personal favorite member of Phish.

Dancing on the Soundboard!

Dancing on the Soundboard!

Chris Kuroda during Runaway Jim

Chris Kuroda during Runaway Jim

Kuroda is the IT guy when it comes to lighting effects. I am a huge fan of lighting and in my personal opinion, along with millions of others, he is the greatest at what he does.  For a while, while Phish was on hiatus, Kuroda did lights for The Black Crowes.  I can only imagine his happiness when Phish decided to get back together.  Without missing a beat, I am sure Kuroda put in his two weeks notice to The Black Crowes the day he found out.

And so I stared.  I stared at Kuroda‘s hands and face during the rest of Big Black Furry Creature from Mars. I would stare at him and then stare at the lights on stage in front of me.  It was BRILLIANT.  I wish I knew how he manipulated all of that.  What an art form.  I would have loved to ask but I didn’t want to interrupt his work.

We love you Chris Kuroda

We love you Chris Kuroda

Chris Kuroda and Sue Anastasio!

Chris Kuroda and Sue Anastasio!

During Runaway Jim, Trey Anastasio’s wife, Sue,  joined us on the soundboard.  It was also at this time that I shared a wonderfully romantic moment with my friend Jay.  A long time coming and wonderfully romantic.   Our teenage posse was hanging out on the soundboard as well and everyone hugged in approval of the moment.  At the end of Runaway Jim, Chris Kuroda turns around and, spotting us  in his sight line, he mouths: “WOW!!”   Even Chris Kuroda surprises himself.

Phish @ Hartford, CT (06.24.10)

Phish @ Camden, NJ (06.24.10)

We all swayed together in a large embrace for a lot of Army of One as it was mellow and calm.  There was a lovely piano solo by Page.  Trey’s solo was simple and sweet.   The song itself didn’t hold my attention and I found myself losing myself in my own thoughts while watching Chris Kuroda work his magic on the boards.  Free Man In Paris was a new debut Jonie Mitchell cover.  It was a bit faster but still just a little mellow for my taste.  I really wanted the music to rip my head off to coincide with the energy level raging through my body grouped with the excitement of what was going on with the Pass and with my friends. Oh man…the lights were more energetic then the music during this set I felt like.

Phish @ Camden, NJ (06.24.10)

Phish @ Camden, NJ (06.24.10)

Summer of 69 was lovely. It was hard not to be dragged into the chicky little tune. I walked up towards the front slowly during this song, taking it all in again.  Loving that no one was stopping me.   I had heard the debut of this song in Hartford a week earlier.  They carried this tune for close to 10 minutes, repeating the lyrics: “And we danced all night” for what felt like a million times. 

Phish @ Camden, NJ (06.25.10)

Phish @ Camden, NJ (06.25.10)

Kuroda Rage!

Kuroda Rage!

And then there silence for a good minute before Mike broke out a fat bass line and the playful keys of Page ushered in Split Open and Melt.  We got a bit of a jam session during this song but it still felt forced from Trey.  I felt Page was just ripping it up…like, I am here ready to rage, yall ready yet? Like they were still warming up.  But, not sure if I mentioned this earlier…Phish had a RIDICULOUS opener at Camden the night previous. People were saying it was the greatest show of the tour so far.  So, it was no wonder Phish was so mellow and kinda just not bringing the fire during this set.  They literally were gearing up.  And this certainly wasn’t a bad show but I have high expectations no matter what.

Phish @ Camden, NJ (06.25.10)

Phish @ Camden, NJ (06.25.10)

The FUNK and HEAVY was brought in for The Sloth and then the energy was there.  The song forced it up and out in my opinion.  Page continued his rage on the keys and Trey had to scream to get that energy up and the entire venue was risen up with the band.  Mike’s great funky bass behind Trey’s guitar was pretty great.

Phish @ Camden, NJ (06.25.10)

Phish @ Camden, NJ (06.25.10)

The fun and bouncy vibe continued on into Time Turns Elastic. This song was all over the place with a pretty melody behind it.  For almost 20 minutes the guys on stage just raged their instruments.  Jammin’, slammin’, beating, hitting, strumming, screeching, jazz and rock and funk all together.  Menacing and bubbly at the same time.

Phish @ Camden, NJ (06.25.10)

Phish @ Camden, NJ (06.25.10)

And during Golgi Apparatus, when they sang the lyrics: “I saw you with a ticket stub in your hand,” I giggled inwardly at how I had yet, after four shows, been asked to produce a ticket.

Full Moon over the show!

Full Moon over the show!

Prep work...

Prep work...

During intermission, the lot of us went to the lawn to decompress and just hang.  New perspectives.  I was very pleased to hear from others that they found that the first set was a little mellow for their taste.  It was definitely too mellow for me. I am very aware that I don’t recall much from the first set. The music didn’t hold my attention for the most part.

View of stage from lawn, with screens

View of stage from lawn, with screens

We lounged on the lawn until the music started again.  Chatting about anything and everything.  Everyone smiling wide.  And doing exactly what we had hoped and figured, PHISH RIPPED OPEN the second set with Chalk Dust Torture. I sat on the lawn and watched how the party unfolded.  Because it was ON after this song.  

View of stage from Lawn

View of stage from Lawn

During Prince Caspian, I made my way down to our seats, snapping the above and below pictures as  I walked.  The lights were gorgeous. The sound was uplifting and fun.  I love this song.  Always a crowd pleaser.   There were 8 friends left in our area as the rest had remained on the lawn for dancing room.  With a few having stepped away, the remaining friends jumped and danced and raged all over those seats.  The people around us were singing along, dancing with us, hugging.  Every time someone we knew would come or go there was always a commotion of love. 

View of Show from Lawn

View of Show from Lawn

John's Sound Room in action...

John's Sound Room in action...

Heavy Things was next and it was during this time that I had another backstage rage.  We took over the seats in the sound room and were as quiet as a mouse.  John was watching the screen while manipulating the levels and whatnot on the board in front of him. My camera died at this point and Jay went to plug it into the plus that was on the wall.  John reminded us very seriously of the fact that the main device was to our left.  Of course, we were more then careful.  I felt like I was near irreplaceable glass while I was in the room. I was scared to breath.  But it was really cool to see how these people work.  To learn of what things go on behind the scenes that you might not have known before.   That has been the greatest part of this musical adventure I have been on the past few weeks with PHISH.

John's Sound Room in action...

John's Sound Room in action...

The funky, bluesy Alaska called us back to the pavilion.  A nice, slower jam after the raging first three that finally brought the heat to the Bank Center. But it was 2001 that got me jumping again.

Fishman!

Fishman!

When they busted out 2001, all I could think about is the spectacle I witnessed in Saratoga Springs days earlier when they unleashed it upon us during the second set.  It was out of control.  The scene was no different here.  The Glow sticks erupted everywhere, people were screaming, the dancing in the isles seemed to have gotten a bit thicket as well.  Luckily, at this point, we remained up front for the remaining of the set and there was plenty of room to get funky.

I would say that this was my favorite song of the night.  Mainly because during the jam, the guys broke out into a few Michael Jackson Tribute songs in recognition of the one year anniversary of MJ’s death.  The song consisted of Billie Jean containing a Thriller tease from Trey.  They continued to tease it later on in the song as well.  Phun fact #215:  This was the debut of Billie Jean 🙂

Front row ragin'

Front row ragin'

During Light, I grabbed my friend and took her to the front during the piano song.  I didn’t really know what I was doing at first and we got a little heckled trying to find a good place to stand out of the way.  At first we walked right up middle and there was no way to reach front row.  The guard told me: ” you will never get up there. Don’t bother trying to get closer.”  So, of course, I grabbed Mer’s hand and we got closer.

Front row ragin'

Front row ragin'

There was a pretty sick glow stick war during Possum but nothing compared to the glow stick was in Saragtoga a few days earlier.  Trey also brought the heat here with his solo.  YUMMY!

Trey in all his glory!

Trey in all his glory!

For the encore, Jay ran back and got my camera charger allowing me to take the pictures you see above of Trey and the gang.  I danced in front of Fishman for the entire encore of Shine A Light and it raged.  All my friends had gathered back together in our seat.  After a final head count, there were 18 of us raging those few rows and it was spectacular to me.  I had never been with so many fans who were literally SUPER FANS.  I am normally the super fan of these smaller groups who I love.  But it’s rare that I am the one on the outside looking in at the party.  That is what was going on all these years.

Set IAlumni Blues > Letter To Jimmy Page > Alumni Blues, Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, Runaway Jim, Army of One, Free Man In Paris, Summer of 69, Split Open And Melt, The Sloth, Time Turns Elastic, Golgi Apparatus (1:14)
Set II: Chalk Dust Torture >, Prince Caspian >, Heavy Things, Alaska, 2001, Light >, Possum, Character Zero (1:17)

Encore: Shine A Light (5:55)

~ Stage Rage #2: After Show ~

After the show, we checked back in with our krewe, made plans to meet up in the parking lot and Jay and I took off backstage to grab our things.  In the middle of it all, I walked through the stage and just stopped.  Overwhelmed.
Time to pack it up...

Time to pack it up...

To my left, there were numerous trucks with their backs dropped over as if they were ready to load cattle.  Some men waiting to load it in, while others were packing it up on stage and still others were transporting the equipment on wheels between the stage and trucks.  Quite the machine.  Especially since we had only been hanging around for a few minutes before making the move to return backstage.  Look at this efficiency…
Game over...

Game over...

To my left was the stage, I could see all the people leaving the pavilion and lawn.  It was intense to stand where I was standing and try to feel the massive energy from all those people.

A portion of my fellow ragers!

A small portion of my fellow ragers...

That night, as I lay in a cuddle puddle with my friends, Jay exclaimed, ” You saw them all.  I have been backstage a million times and I have never seen them all in one place.”   “Never?,” I ask.  “Maybe 1/ in 40 shows,”  he said.  And sometimes you never see them at all, especially Trey.”  Yet again, I silently thanked the show karma Gods for making these superior, exciting adventures happen to me.
I just want to leave you all with a few words from Trey himself that will make you all very happy: He said: “…but this is where I belong. This is where I am supposed to be…and I am never leaving you all again.” Keep Trey sober and Phish won’t be going anywhere 🙂

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8th Annual NYC Musical Saw Festival

A concert & art exhibit revolving around 300 year old art of playing music on a carpenter’s handsaw will take place on Saturday, August 7th, 2010, 2pm.

The art form of making music with a carpenter’s handsaw has been around for 300 years.  For the past 8 years, Astoria, Queens has become a pilgrimage spot for musical saw players from all over the world.  Last year, the festival got into the Guinness Book of Records for the ‘Largest Musical Saw Ensemble’ with 53 players playing together, beating the previous record from Poland (28 saw players).

2010 Musical Saw Festival

2010 Musical Saw Festival

This years festival includes world premiers of music written especially for the musical saw to including a piece written for a trio debut.  As well, the Chorus of the Saws – all the musical saw players playing together.

There will also be musical saw solos & ensembles, performing many music styles to include jazz, classical, pop, folk, show-tunes and more.  All to to be performed by musical saw players from all over the world.

Finally, ‘Ameriklectic’ – a 10-piece jazz band featuring the musical saw of Natalia ‘Saw Lady’ Paruz, as the lead instrument will be debuted.

The festival is made possible by the Queens Council of the Arts with public funding from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and the NY State Council of the Arts.

Where: Hellenic Cultural Center, 27-09 Crescent Street (corner of Newton Avenue), Astoria, NY 11102

Trains: ‘N’ train to 30th Avenue

Admission: $10

Info: Musical Saw Festival

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~ FREE TICKET GIVE AWAY~

Who loves free music?  The NYC Shakedown has been generous enough to offer one of our lucky readers a free pair of tickets to the Friday, July 16, 2010 performance:

NYC SHAKEDOWN: ATNARKO w/ Brooklyn Sound Lab & DJ Nutritious

NYC Shakedown on July 16 @ The Bell House

NYC Shakedown on July 16 @ The Bell House

There is one pair of tickets for the @ 10PM show with doors opening @ 8PM

Click here to enter on the Facebook Contest Page

or Twitter the following:

RT this to be in a drawing to WIN 2 Free tickets to see NYC Shakedown (@djnutritious) at NYC’s @BellHouseNY on July 16th!! #tinyragerblog

Biographies:

The Dirty Deep Tour hits NYC!

Atnarko’s own sleek productions—which he describes as “funky and fun”—have been pressed for underground imprints like Nightshift Recordings, Tango, Kolour and Robsoul. His collaborations with British house-legend Huggy as “Formidable Force” for the 2020 Vision label has indeed landed in the record crates of the world’s top house DJs who prize their quirky, yet floor-movin’ vibes. Atnarko has appeared on Ministry Of Sound, OM, Fabric, Street Beat, Fat City, Network, Astralwerks, and more. He’s also an in-demand remixer and well traveled club DJ who wants nothing more than to drop a groove down your spine (and inspire a smile on your face).

Atnarko also co-owns Eight-Tracks along with Q-Burns abstract Message. Eight-Tracks is a vinyl based label dedicated to releasing conceptual house music with a post-modernist—read: subversive—slant.

Joining in this evening will be a debut Live-PA performance by Brooklyn Sound Lab, the crunchy closed-circuit production duo of U-Melt’s Zac Lasher and Josh Parrish. Brooklyn Sound Lab combines their years of live electronic music experience with the studio skill and precision that brought you U-Melt’s latest album, Perfect World… and it’s all bangin!

VJ Mamiko Kushida is on brain duties with her ever smashing avant-garde visuals and Nutritious hits the decks in his old-nabe with a new bag of picks…

10 bux at the Bell House 149 7th St, Brooklyn (in the Gowanus area of Park Slope)

10pm-4am, 21+

F, G or R TRAINS-9th Street & 4th Avenue stop

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Big Sam’s Funky Nation…Surrender Your Dance Floors

(By: Brett B.)

Big Sam's Funky Nation (cd release) @ Sullivan Hall

Big Sam's Funky Nation - Sullivan Hall, NYC 4/16/10

Full Rager!

Full Rager!

How seriously do I take funk and soul music?  Ask my kids what the greatest song ever written is and they will tell you without hesitation, “Isaac Hayes. ‘Theme from SHAFT‘.  I have the STAX record label tattooed on my arm.  And I skipped my high school prom in 1978 to see Earth, Wind & Fire, The Commodores and LTD at the San Diego Sports Arena.

For a white guy from the suburbs of Virginia, I don’t fool around when it comes to soul music. So, when I say to you I have seen the future of funk and his name is Big Sam Williams, you might want to take a moment and listen to what the man has to say.

Hailing from the magical city of New Orleans, Big Sam’s Funky Nation has spent the last few years bringing their Gospel of Boogie to every stage they can find. Like a soul-fueled juggernaut of tight horn charts and make your ass sweat on the dance floor bass beats, the Funky Nation is the kind of rhythmic unit that used to back greats like James Brown, Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett.

Say Hi to Big Sam

Big Sam is King

But it’s truly all about the Big Man. From the smile that hypnotizes to the dapper hat that makes him the envy of any haberdashery fan around to his skills on the trombone, he is the “total” performance package.

But then he starts to move. And I mean he moves like liquid mercury bopping and popping to the heat from the Funky Nation behind him. And I would be remiss in not mentioning the Nation:

Takeshi Shimmura – Guitar
Eric Vogell – Bass
Drummer Boy Milk Williams – Drums
Andrew Da Phessah Drew Baham – Vocal/Trumpet

This band follows Big Sam wherever and whenever the Cat In The Hat leads them. Whether it’s a water park in New Jersey or a gospel set in a hundred degree heat in a tent at Bonnaroo.

Once upon a time there were bands with horns who sang songs of positivity and hope. Who played songs that made you dance the night away. Songs about love not just about sex. These were bands like Earth, Wind & Fire, Chicago, Sly & The Family Stone and The Commdores.

Big Sam's Funky Nation

Big Sam's Funky Nation

So, it is fitting that the band who most truly seems to follow the philosophies and putting forth the same messages of love and enjoying life to the fullest named their most recent album, KING OF THE PARTY.

Because for the citizens of Big Sam’s Funky Nation the party never stops and the cry of “Long live the King!” will be heard as long they can dance.

Read about Big Sam’s Funky Nation Album “King of the Party” Release Party @ Sullivan Hall (04.16.10)

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