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Terminal 5 Event Poster

Terminal 5 Event Poster

The Royal Family Ball @ Terminal 5 (10.02.10)

It was a night New Yorkers and beyond had been waiting for since it was first announced back in July.  The Royal Family would be taking over Terminal 5 for a night of pure FUNKY RAGE hosting their 3rd Annual Royal Family Ball. Knowing that The Royal Family is a tight brotherhood that rolls deep with love, we die hard fans  knew it would be a special night.  A night to remember, a night of complete surprises, a night of of complete funk, of blues, of rock ‘n’ roll.  A night requiring us to dance till we drop….simply a night we would NEVER forget.

Event Poster: The Royal Family Dream Team

Event Poster: The Royal Family Dream Team

For months, we have eagerly awaited this night.  The Royal Family had enticing little offers before the show such as rewarding the first 100 people to purchase a ticket with an autographed poster of The Royal Family.  Man, what a hilarious treat.  I, of course, jumped on that offer, buying my ticket at 12:01 pm, right when they went on sale, closing the sale out at 12:03pm.  Sadly, I didn’t get a poster but many of my friends did.  I will some how rectify this 😉 You can be sure of that!

The importance of this night and the energy behind it hit me the second I woke up Saturday morning.  I felt like it was Christmas.  As much music as I see, this was a show that had me jumping on my toes.  The anticipation was palpable.  For weeks before the big night, I had numerous friends from outside NY toy with the idea of coming in for the show.  However it was my dear friend Andy who was the only one to make the trip from Baltimore for the day/night.

“Street fair arepas… Gut bomb. Royal Family Revue… Funk bomb.” ~ Andy D.

They handed out party favors...

They handed out party favors...

This was one of those events where traveling would be worth it.  My phone had been blowing up all night prior to the show with friends wondering what was going down before the Rage.  In the end, we summoned all our favorite Ragers to a “Ragehearsal,” as one of my dear friends has come to so aptly name our rendezvous before the shows.  Everyone was eager to make a day of it.  A 24-hour rage.  The EPICNESS of what tonight might bring to our eyes and ears was lost on no one.

“Royals, you shook me, you shook me all night long. Powerful stuff.” ~ Robert M.

Of all the years I have been an Eric Krasno junkie, I have never been part of such a complete day and night full of The Royal Family.  And the best part about it…there were guests.  Oh yes, there were guests. Tonight’s rage would include performances by:

The Royal Family

Soulive

Lettuce

The Nigel Hall Band

Chapter 2

The Shady Horns

Special Guests

John Scofield – Guitar

Warren Haynes – Guitar

Talib Kweli – Rapper

Big Sam Williams – Trombone

The Shady Horns

Maurice Brown – Trumpet

Christian Scott – Trumpet

Spinning between sets: DJ Equal

Terminal 5 doors opened at 6:30pm and we were all in the building by 7:30pm, not wanting to miss a single minute of the show.  The venue was far from packed but by the end of the night, the 3,000-person venue was packed in on all sides. It was a night filled to the brim with the EPITOME of Funk, Soul, Blues, Rock, Hip-Hop and more. They play it all ladies and gentleman. And it all began, as it almost always does, with a set from The Nigel Hall Band. Let’s get this Royal Party started…..

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

The Nigel Hall Band @ 7:30/8:00pm

Nigel Hall – Keys, Vocals

Eric Krasno – Bass

Adam Deitch – Drums

Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff – Guitar

Sam Kininger -Saxophone

Ryan Zoidis – Alto & Baritone Saxophone

Maurice Brown – Trumpet

Alan Evans – Backup vocals

Lindsay Lucas – Backup vocals

Mel Flannery – Backup vocals

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

MVP OF THE NIGHT – It just needs to be said, flat out, hands down!!! ROYAL FAMILY MVP!  Nigel Hall started the show, performed throughout the show and closed the show with the highest elevation of energy and the full embodiment of what RAGE truly entails. He had been rehearsing for weeks with new back-up singers and the rest of the crew to deliver what was quite possibly the greatest performance I had ever seen him lay out on a stage.  As soon as I started seeing Nigel Hall perform many moons ago, I started recognizing a pattern prior to his performances and the pattern goes a little something like this…..

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Arriving early, I walk around the venue, listening to the audience talking.  Many are not sure of who this magnificent singing, keys player is who will be opening for whatever Royal Family Project is slated to open that night.  You hear a few people explain  “It’s Nigel Hall!” but they do not elaborate.  “Who is this Nigel Hall” you hear them wondering out loud?  I always want to stop and answer each one of them but I know that Nigel will be answering for himself as soon as the music starts.   And then he starts performing…and if not by the end of the first song, by the end of the second song the audience is locked in, jaws on the ground asking everyone around them, WHO IS THIS GUY!!!!?? But this time, they are really looking for answers, they actually care and are invested…floored by this magical singing machine.

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

And so it was this night.  I walked around the venue listening to people talking about what might happen on stage this night.  Noticing so many people asking about the opener, Nigel Hall.  What those around me didn’t realize yet was that he would steal the show.

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Tonight The Nigel Hall Band consisted of a thick wall of solid musicians that we all recognized and a few new faces to the mix.  His back up band consisted of those listed above.  Eric Krasno, the King of the Royal Family, supporting his fellow Family member on bass guitar.  Alan Evans stepping out of his drummer seat to sing backup vocals while Adam Deitch destroyed the drum kit.  Not wanting to be left out, from my second level perch I noticed Neal Evans hanging over by Deitch striking things with a single drum stick.  You might not have noticed him if you were on the ground level in front of the stage.

This was also the first time I had seen backup singers.  Lindsay Lucas and Mel Flannery‘s voices, supported by Alan Evans, melted seamlessly with Nigel‘s smooth vocals. This line-up of The Nigel Hall Band hit a home run. To begin, the stage was set with each member on stage, warming up the mics and the instruments for a funky introduction which Nigel steps out to in an orange Argyle sweater with a smile so wide I couldn’t help but mirror the image. And so it began…right into Hang It Up.

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Wait Till I Get Home had the Shady Horns completely blowing up the stage.  Ryan Zoidis completely standing out on the baritone sax.  Everywhere I looked…smiles. Second song in and the place was on fire. This is EXACTLY what Nigel Hall is meant to do and by GOD he does a GREAT job.  Never Know saw the Shady Horns exit and Krasno and Smirnoff backing Nigel on keys through the slow and smooth flow.

“I loved the show. I felt that Nigel stood out as there were many great musicians but only 1 best singer. I myself was born under a bad sign so I can relate.” ~ Josh R.

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Gimmie a Sign upped the funk meter ten-fold with Nigel funking up the keys.  He then takes a moment to explain to the audience, “This is a song that has stuck with me over many years after I heard this song as a young boy. I hope you enjoy it.” And while Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff completely let loose on his guitar, Nigel sang a soulful Baby, I Do Love You.

Give it up for the Horns,” screams Nigel.  With Never Gonna Let You Go closing out his set, Nigel Hall sang smoothly as his backup singers filled in when he walked off the stage.  And as Ryan Zoidis soloed on his axe of funk, Nigel came running back on stage, grabbing the mic, screaming “NEVER! NEVER! NEVEEEEER!”  His passion and his lust for life provides a fuel to his energy that is unmatched.  And this was only the first set 🙂

Nigel Hall Setlist: Intro, Hang It Up, Wait Till I Get Home, Too Sweet, Never Know, Gimme A Sign, Baby I Do Love You, Never Gonna Let You Go

Download: Nigel Hall Band @ Terminal 5 (10/02.10) – It is located under Lettuce’s Set

 

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

NOTE TO TAPERS!!  TAPE NIGEL’S SETS and post them.  Where is the love??? He is just as much a part of this raging cycle of music as anyone of them.  Just sayin….get with the program on that tip please.

After Nigel’s set, I decided to move from my second floor perch to ride the rail with my friends for a bit.  Sadly, my crew was situated right in front of the DJ Booth. However, I could see neither drums nor the horns.  Absolutely couldn’t stand that option for the rest of the night.  Even though I wanted to chill with my friends, I thought, well, I do that every night and this was a show I really had to SEE and inhale completely. So, I reserved myself to chillin on the second perch alone while my crew raged the rail! As it should be 🙂 Watching them, waving to them, laughing with them, we were all still connected as I was completely visible to them.  This was actually a part of the night that enhanced my happiness.  Seeing them react to Warren coming on stage…their faces, their jumping, screaming, hugging. Perfection.

DJ Equal spins in between sets

DJ Equal spins in between sets

Lettuce @ 8:45/9:00pm

Eric Krasno – Guitar

E.D. “Jesus” Combes – Bass, Vocals

Adam Deitch – Drums

Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff – Guitar

Neal Evans – Keys, Vocals

Sam Kinninger -Saxophone

Ryan Zoidis – Alto & Baritone Saxophone

Alan Evans – Percussion

Special Guests:

Big Sam Williams – Trombone

Maurice Brown – Trumpet

Christian Scott – Trumpet

John Scofield – Guitar

Talib Kweli – Rapper

Nigel Hall – Keys, Vocals

Set II: Lettuce w/ Talib Kweli, Big Sam, John Scofield

Set II: Lettuce w/ Talib Kweli, Big Sam, John Scofield

Set II: Lettuce w/ Talib Kweli, Big Sam, John Scofield

Set II: Lettuce w/ Talib Kweli, Big Sam, John Scofield

Soul singer Hall left the stage and was replaced by DA FUNKY FUNK!!!! One of my top ten favorite groups to have formed on this earth: LETTUCE.  Going on a little before/after 9pm, the entire original crew graced the stage, to include the rare appearance by E.D. “Jesus” Combes on bass.  Living on the West Coast, he is constantly working with big names such as Eminem, Dr. Dre and played bass and wrote/produced several tracks on Britney Spears new album Blackout.  I love E.D. “Jesus” Combes because he puts a lot of thought into the notes he chooses to play, sometimes bursting to the front of the stage with a blast of funk through his body. He totally grinds into his playing which I LOVE!.  He stands out with understated effort because his sound is unusual and not forced. You just got to hear him to understand.

“Excellent night all around. Nigel and Soulive were incredible, but Lettuce especially blew me away! Check out the rooftop area for a breather between sets. Nice joint!” ~ Markus S.

The stellar cast on stage played a handful of favorites to include Blast Off, Sam Huff’s Flying Ragin’ Machine and Last Suppitt before bringing out the guests.  Let it be made very clear that Lettuce completely set the stage on fire even without the guests.  They truly are so tight and on point every time and we were enjoying them so much.  The guests were simply a blessed bonus.  My hands were on the railing of my ledge and I was literally head banging with so much fury as their energy coursed through me.  The horn section with it’s supplements was completely out of control. FIRE FUNK!

Set II: Lettuce w/ Talib Kweli

Set II: Lettuce w/ Talib Kweli

“Talib was money” ~ Eric S.

“You have my quote on the evening… “Tits on bacon.” ~ Andy D.

The first guest and a personal favorite of the night was Talib Kweli.  Rapper’s delight. He brought such an unusual layer to the revue. Bringing the urban into an already straight up funky urban rage, he rapped through Move Something.

The whole joint start shakin

This ain’t the time or place for you to prove something

Cut the stargazin’ yo, move somethin’! ~ Talib Kweli

 

Set II: Lettuce w/ Talib & Nigel

Set II: Lettuce w/ Talib & Nigel

The Blast saw Nigel Hall back on stage as he joined in on vocals with Talib KweliNigel, man, the guy can do it all.  Albeit, he is not a rapper in my mind and probably never will be.  He did, however, bring a soulful layer to his rapping that Talib couldn’t touch as he continued to rap over/under Nigel.  “Jazzfest energy” was a term I heard among my friends to describe the energy of Talib‘s trio of songs ending with Get By.

Little focus on Nigel‘s vocals……

Set II: Lettuce

Set II: Lettuce

Talib and Nigel leave the stage for the originals, led by the ever amazing Eric Krasno, rage through Break Out and Relax. Eric Krasno, relentless, captivating.  His sound and style, one you could pick out of any crowd of guitar players.  Powerful musician…wonderful band leader.  With all his projects and large catalog of musicians under his Royal Family records, Eric Krasno ensures that our nights in NYC are constantly filled with talented musical projects and shows. I can’t imagine the city without Krasno, Deitch and the lot.  And here he was showcased in front of all his projects together in one night. Then as if things could get any better…John Scofield joined the stage…enjoy his warm up…

John Scofield, a legend.  A complete and utter master at his trade. Being billed right off the bat, this was one of the highlights of the show that everyone was anticipating that evening.  The Flu… it was amazing.  John took a little time to warm up in my opinion but then it got rowdy.  The horns were grimy, popping in sounds that reminded me of Skerik.  It got powerful. The guitar standing out on top of it all, the audience slightly more quiet now, just watching it unfold.

The Shady Horns with Big Sam on trombone was out of this world.  Orchestral.  Everything was so tight and then Scofield would go off into trippy spacey scratching of the guitar making faces to match.  He is endless with the sounds he can produce with a guitar.

Set II: Lettuce

Set II: Lettuce

And with a gracious introduction from Alan Evans, with the horns blasting out his name and with John Scofield still in the mix, Nigel Hall was brought back on stage to perform their Curtis Mayfield staple, Move On Up. As many times as I have heard Nigel sing this song and heard he say he was sick of singing it, this version was STELLAR!!! My video is not so great so just turn it down a little lower to hear it and watch it…

The one below is only 1 minute but much better sound. Thought I’d give ya everything 😉

One of the deepest, funkiest, raging songs of the night: Making My Way Back Home, a song about Nigel’s hometown of Washington, DC. Raised three hours away in Williamsburg, Virgina, I relate to this song well. The bass line is killer in  this song. Nigel, so interactive with the audience, breaks it down and just continually bringing the energy UP, UP, UP Chuck Brown-style!!! SARDINES & KRAZ AND SCHMEENS!!

Lettuce Setlist: Intro, Blast Off Sam Huff’s Flying Ragin’ Machine, Last Suppitt, King of the Bergs, Move Something, The Blast, Get By, Break Out, Relax, The Flu, Move On Up, Makin My Way Back Home

Download: Lettuce Live at Terminal 5 on 2010-10-02 (October 2, 2010)

Breaksciene’s Afterparty at The Loving Cup’s Cameo was announced and the merchandise was plugged….and the headlining group was finally announced.  Soulive.  Live it, learn it, love them!

Dj Equal spinning away...

Dj Equal spinning away...

Soulive @ 10:30/10:45pm

Eric Krasno – Guitar

Neal Evans – Keys, bass

Alan Evans – Drums

Special Guests:

Warren Haynes – Guitar

Big Sam Williams – Trombone

Rashawn Ross – Trumpet

Sam Kinninger -Saxophone

Ryan Zoidis – Alto & Baritone Saxophone

Maurice Brown – Trumpet

Christian Scott – Trumpet

John Scofield – Guitar

Nigel Hall – Keys, Vocals

Set III: Soulive + Shady Horns

Set III: Soulive + Shady Horns

Keys + Bass = Amazing

Keys + Bass = Amazing

You know about Soulive right? One of the greatest trios ever IMHO!! I sure hope you know who they are and if not, check them out. It’s a trio comprised of the virtuoso guitar player, Eric Krasno, drums played by Alan Evans and then there is Neal Evans who plays keys.  The standout detail about this group is that Neal also plays the bass through the second layer of his keys.  Seriously.  Now…what kind of brain can do that?  That takes a complicated mind right there.   Such a cool combination of sounds/notes/vibes.

Set III: Soulive + Shady Horns

Set III: Soulive + Shady Horns

Soulive came out dressed in stylish suits and slammed into Beatles tunes.  Their latest CD release, Rubber Soulive, has been something of a hot topic among talented music circles.  It’s luscious, loud and worth every single penny.  Bringing their own touch to classic Beatles tune such as Come Together, Something in the Way, and Eleanor Rigby, it’s just superb. Sing alongs ensued.  Come Together found it’s way into everyone’s throats and the audience sang for their tickets as Soulive played for  their lives. Jazz-filled funky rock. The following video is a wonderful collection of all the Beatles tunes.  Sit back, turn it up and watch the magic.  Best video of the article 🙂  Everyone say “Thank you Mike!”

Krasno completely ripped open the songs, jamming us all into the floor.  Backed by the brothers of rage, the Beatles medley was one of the highlights of the show. I Want You (She’s So Heavy) was on a different level all together. Everyone thank my boy Scott for the excellent video below!!

“Was really great to see Soulive hit a comfort level with the Beatles material that they really ripped into it- I want you (She’s so heavy) seemed to really hit another gear of nastiness as they did with that song what most instrumentalists I know have always wanted to do with it.” ~ Russ A.

Set III: Shady Horns + some!!

Set III: Shady Horns + some!!

And once the covers of the Rubber Soulive were done they blasted into their oldies but raging goodies with The Shady Horns (Sam Kinninger & Ryan Zoidis) joining the stage for El Ron.  The place was utterly packed and from my second floor perch, I could see everyone moving, groovin’ and clapping.  Christian Scott had joined the rage and John Scofield joins the stage again for What You See Is What You Get. Granted, Scofield is a god, but this song was stolen by Christian Scott‘s trumpet solo and Neal Evans‘s keys.

At this point, the show starts elevating into a high point that seems unreachable.  Time for a horn rage.  By this time Maurice Brown and Rashawn Ross have joined Christian Scott and the Shady Horns. A horn rage ensues but where is Big Sam Williams on the trombone?? Oh man….well, he tried to join the horn ledge, however, Christian Scott had taken his microphone so NOLA represented.  Walking behind the drum kit to the front of the stage, Big Sam took over Eric Krasno‘s vocal mic for an intense in-your-face solo.  Enjoy! (Turn down volume a bit – it’s one of mine)

Set III: Soulive!

Set III: Soulive!

It was time for Scofield to lead the show with one from his own catalog, the funk rock original Hottentot!! The whisper through the audience after this song was loud.  This song choice made a lot of people happy, as it should.  The song allowed for he & Krasno to trade licks and let loose for a great jam, which I thought might lead to the beginning of the end of Scofield’s addition to the stage, until possibly the encore.  Boy….I had no idea what I was thinking.  The best was totally yet to come…..

Since the album version was my ringtone for years, the surprise bust-out of Sco’s “Hottentot” was probably one of my favorite highlights. It had a slightly slower, nastier vibe to it that I really enjoyed. ~ Andy D.

WARREN joins the stage...

WARREN joins the stage...

And if you just watched the video above, then the end just gave it away but THE BEST WAS TOTALLY YET TO COME!!!  Warren Haynes……….WARREN HAYNES joined the stage.  I literally grabbed the bars in front of me and screamed at the top of my lungs while flailing around.  I couldn’t believe it.  I just couldn’t believe it.  What is more unbelievable is I had to tell all the people around me who that even was.  I believe they were there for Talib Kweli but they had NO clue who Warren was.  Unreal.  And so it was that the venue erupted into a ball of energy that the night had yet to see.

Set III: Soulive + Warren + Sco

Set III: Soulive + Warren + Sco

Born Under A Bad Sign, a song made popular by Cream and originally written by the legendary blues guitarist, Albert King.  Yes SIR!!  HOLY YES!!!!!!  What can I say about this?  It was phenomenal.  Warren Haynes, John Scofield and Eric Krasno on the stage at one time…kidding me?  Nigel Hall came out and sang alternating verses with Warren Haynes and there were mixed reviews over this move but I thought it was superb. Nigel, once again adding a layer to the mix that just felt right.

“Nigel’s voice is always a special treat. Being a longtime Soulive fan, I really appreciated their take on the Beatles. Oh Eleanor Rigby! Thank you Soulive, Nigel Hall and the whole crew for getting so many wonderful musicians together all on one stage for this major collaboration!” ~ Jessica B.

I’m actually a little torn on Nigel.  I think Warren could have held the vocals down on “Born Under a Bad Sign” on his own, though Nigel did rip Too Much and the JB mini set. ~ Russ A.

I always did say Warren sings like an angel. ~ Jessica B.

This was just such a treat. You had Big Sam on his trombone as well.  I mean, the $25 ticket was paid for so long ago but if anyone had any qualms, they were silenced by this mega, face-melting guitar threesome horn flip-out.  Nigel‘s voice was killer.  Warren was killer. The horns were unmatched.  Scofield was melting into the floor with his guitar.  Unreal.  For a minute, I forgot who I was there to watch.  Wondering who the true star of the show truly was. Scofield left the stage and the rest of the set was Nigel Hall tearing up the vocals and Soulive blasting the stage apart with funky goodness. It was so great!

(Doin the 2 Video is uploading.  I’ll insert it tomorrow)

The encore was a James Brown Medley of all kinds of songs.  John Scofield came back out.  During the 3rd song, Nigel miscounted the beats and had a little rage to a stop and rewind the moment.  TWENTY!!!  And the second time around it went down right and they dropped the funk into our faces and dripped funk until they exited the stage.  JAMES BROWN MEDLEY!!  Think about that energy if you can!  Those of you there, remember that?  Nigel screaming, horns blasting…

There was some kind of swagger in the Soulive set that night. maybe it was that this was the biggest paying crowd for them headlining a show in nyc, maybe it was just feeling good on the material, maybe it was the hard work, but they played the hell out of those tunes. they owned those tunes. ~ Russ A.

Soulive Setlist: Come Together, Something In The Way, Eleanor Rigby, I Want You (She’s So Heavy),

El Ron, What You See Is What You Get, Hottentot, Born Under a Bad Sign, Do The 2, Too Much, JB Medley w/ John Scofield

Download: Soulive Live at Terminal 5 on 2010-10-02 (October 2, 2010)

 

THANK YOU ROYAL FAMILY!!!

THANK YOU ROYAL FAMILY!!!

 

It was a phenomenal night of music at Terminal this night.  for $25 you just couldn’t beat what we had just witnessed.  There was a fire on stage and an energy pumping thorugh the venue that I hadn’t felt before.  The crowd being so diverse, some coming for Talib Kweli and not knowing Warren Haynes.  Others knowing Warren Haynes but not Nigel Hall.  Others boasting about Lettuce but knowing nothing of John Scofield.  I think the greatest part of the night was knowing that a lot of people were introduced to a lot of new music and musicians this night.  I hope they went home and looked up Warren Haynes and Talib Kweli and Nigel Hall.

The Royal Family ensures that New York City will remain at the forefront of musical collaborations and musical history.  I feel as though whenever The Royal Family has a big to-do, they out do themselves every single time.  Thank you Royal Family.  Thank you for feeding us, supplying us with the music we need to survive.

Thank You SO MUCH!!!

Thank You SO MUCH!!!

 

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June 2010 Potential Show Run Down

June 2010 Potential Show Run Down

(If there is ANYTHING that I have missed that must not be missed, please point it out as this is updated daily things constantly.)

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010:

  • (Free) Dred Scott Trio w/Clay Ross @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • ($10 w/ 2 Drink min) Jason Lindner Trio w/Mark Guiliana @ Zinc Bar
  • ($45-$85) Reggie Watts w/ Conan O’Brien @ Radio City Music Hall

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010:

  • ($10 w/ 2 Drink min) Jason Lindner Trio @ Zinc Bar
  • ($25-$45) Lisa Loeb @ City Winery
  • ($29.50) Toots & the Maytals @ B.B. Kings
  • ($45-$85) Reggie Watts w/ Conan O’Brien @ Radio City Music Hall

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010:

  • ($15) Galactic Feat. Corey Henry w/ Sp. Guest Corey Glover of Living Colour@ Brooklyn Bowl (Funk Live) –> Some Cat From Japan (A Will Bernad Project) opening for Galactic (Jam Cruise Reunion Party)
  • ($15) Eli “Paperboy” Reed & True Loves @ Mercury Lounge
  • ($32-$35) Dark Star Orchestra @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg
  • ($30-$35) Anders Osborne / Tab Benoit @ Rocks Off Concert Cruise Aboard The Temptress
  • ($35) Michael Franti & Spearheads & Trombone Shorty @ Govenor’s Island
  • ($40-$30) Dee Dee Bridgewater: Tribute to Billie Holiday @ The Blue Note
  • ($150) Patti LaBelle @ B.B. King Blues Club
  • ($??) Eldar @ Iridium Jazz Club

Friday, June 4th, 2010:

  • Mountain Jam IV Music Festival, NY ~ Day I
  • (Free) Von Ghost @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • ($15) Galactic Feat. Corey Henry w/ Sp. Guest Corey Glover of Living Colour@ Brooklyn Bowl (Funk Live) –>
    • Some Cat From Japan (A Will Bernard Project) opening for Galactic
  • ($25) The Return of George Porter Jr. & Runnin Pardners/ Papa Grows Funk @ Sullivan Hall (Funk Live)
  • ($35-$60) Drive By Truckers & Jamie McLean @ Tarrytown Music Hall
  • ($36/SOLD OUT) RJD2, Pretty Lights, Chiddy Bang @ Terminal 5
  • ($40-$30) Dee Dee Bridgewater: Tribute to Billie Holiday @ The Blue Note
  • ($??) Eldar @ Iridium Jazz Club

Saturday, June 5th, 2010:

  • Mountain Jam Music Festival, NY ~ Day II
  • 12th Annual Star Scape Music Festival, MD
  • (Free) West African Band @ St. Nicks, Harlem
  • (Free) Underground Horns @ The Shrine
  • ($15) Galactic Feat. Corey Henry w/ Sp. Guest Corey Glover of Living Colour@ Brooklyn Bowl (Funk Live) –> Some Cat From Japan (A Will Bernard Project) opening for Galactic
  • ($30) Martin Sexton, Ryan Montbleau Band @ Nokia Theater Times Square
  • ($36.50 – $40) Southside Johnny And The Asbury Jukes @ B.B. Kings
  • ($40-$30) Dee Dee Bridgewater: Tribute to Billie Holiday @ The Blue Note

Sunday, June 6th, 2010:

  • Mountain Jam Music Festival, NY ~ Day III
  • ($18-$25) Holmes Brothers @ City Winery
  • ($40-$30) Dee Dee Bridgewater: Tribute to Billie Holiday @ The Blue Note

Monday, June 7th, 2010:

  • (Free) Fela! On Broadway Original Cast Recording Release Party @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($30) Brand New Heavies feat. N’Dea Davenport @ Highline Ballroom

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010:

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010:

  • ($3 suggested) Norah Jones @ Prospect Park Bandshell
  • (Free) Phish on Late Night with Jimmy Falon
  • (Entered a contest but found no price) Jeff Beck – A Tribute To Les Paul @ Iridium Jazz Club
  • ($10-$15) Trouble & Bass @ Santos House Party
  • ($16-$18) Easy Star All-Stars @ Highline Ballroom
  • ($20-$25) An Evening With Eric Lindell (Album Release Party) @ Sullivan Hall (Funk Live)

Thursday, June 10th, 2010:

  • Bonnaroo Music Festival
  • (Free) Sarah Mclachlan on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
  • ($15-$20) Orchard Lounge @ Higher Nubela @ Club Love
  • ($20-$25) Evening with Eric Krasno & Chapter 2 @ Sullivan Hall
  • ($20) Jamie Lidell w/ Alex B. @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg
  • ($20-$30) Duncan Sheik & Holly Brook @ City Winery
  • ($35 for each set) Jorma Kaukonen of Hot Tuna @ Iridium Jazz Club

Friday, June 11th, 2010:

  • Bonnaroo Music Festival (Manchester, TN)
  • Reggae On The Road (Lighting Ridge Park, NY)
  • (Free) Allison Moorer on Late Show with David Letterman
  • ($5) Rotary Downs, The Pimps Of Joytime, Big Light @ Brooklyn Bowl (Funk Live)
  • ($25) David Allan Coe @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
  • ($25) The Budos Band @ Rocks Off Concert Cruise (The Temptress) (7pm-11pm)
    • ($25-$30) Rubblebucket @ Rocks Off Cruises (The Temptress) (11pm-4am)
  • ($25-$80) Jethro Tull w/ Procol Harum @ Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
  • ($30-$45) Leo Kottke @ City Winery

Saturday, June 12th, 2010:

  • Bonnaroo Music Festival (Manchester, TN)
  • Reggae On The Road (Lighting Ridge Park, NY)
  • ($20-$25) NYC Undead Jazzfest (2 Nights, 3 Venues, 30 Bands)
  • (Free) West African Band @ St. Nicks, Harlem @12:30 (late night show)
  • (Girls free/$5) Higher Nebulae @ The Delancy (11pm-1145pm)
  • ($3) Allen Toussaint and Davell Crawford @ The Prospect Park Bandhshell
  • ($10) Will Bernard @ The Blue Note @ 12:30pm (late night show)
  • ($25) Grace Potter & The Nocturnals @ Webster Hall
  • ($30-$35) Leo Kottke @ City Winery

Sunday, June 13th, 2010:

  • Bonnaroo Music Festival (Manchester, TN)
  • Reggae On The Road (Lighting Ridge Park, NY)
  • ($20-$25) NYC Undead Jazzfest (2 Nights, 3 Venues, 30 Bands)
  • ($??) Undead Jazzfest w/ Mark Guiliana @ Sullivan Hall
  • ($7)  Afro Funky Party w/ Zongo Junction, Top Shotta & DJ Offbeat @ Cameo Gallery

Monday, June 14th, 2010:

  • (Free) Baaba Maal, Playing For Change @ Summerstage
  • ($8-$15 + 1 drink min.) Jim Campilongo Electric Trio (w/ Stephan Crump and Tony Mason) @ The Living Room
  • ($25) The Mingus Big band @ The Jazz Standard

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010:

  • (Free) Dred Scott Trio @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • ($30) John Butler Trio, State Radio, Angus and Julia Stone & State Radio @ Summerstage
  • ($40-$155) Carole King / James Taylor – Troubadour Reunion @ Radio City Music Hall
  • ($15) The Roots @ Highline Ballroom (this is weird online)

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010:

  • ($5) Chico Mann @ Santos House Party
  • ($25) Mary Gauthier @ Joe’s Pub (NolaFolk)
  • ($40-$155) Carole King / James Taylor – Troubadour Reunion @ Radio City Music Hall
  • ($50) Larry Graham + Central Station (S&TFS) @ B.B. Kings

Thursday, June 17th, 2010:

  • CareFusion Jazz Festival New York
  • (Free) Taylor Carson @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • ($??) Mark Guiliana @ 55 Bar
  • (??) Gent Treadly @ Flannery’s Irish Pub (called everywhere looking for price)
  • ($10-$12) Apollo Run @ The Studio @ Webster Hall
  • ($5) The Lee Boys @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($13) The London Souls @ Bowery Ballroom
  • ($20-$25) Tony Allen at Le Poisson Rouge (Funk Live)
  • ($25-$30)  Railroad Earth @ Rocks Off Concert Cruise Aboard The Temptress
  • ($40 – $90) Keith Jarrett Trio, Jack DeJohnette, Gary Peacock @ Carnegie Hall (Part of CareFusion Jazz Festival New York)
  • ($59.90-$99.50) New Kids on the Block @ Radio City Music Hall

Friday, June 18th, 2010:

Saturday, June 19th, 2010:

  • PHISH @ SPAC!!!
  • CareFusion Jazz Festival New York
  • (Free) West African Band @ St. Nicks, Harlem (12:pm – late night show)
  • (Free) Apollo Run @ Central Park’s Bandshell
  • (Free) Mike Stern Trio – Bitches Brew Revisited @ Prospect Park Bandshell
  • ($10) The McLovin’s @ Sullivan Hall (@9:30pm)
  • ($10) Sullivan Hall Shakedown @ Sullivan Hall (@12:30am)
    • Featuring Monchan, Chris Hall and DJ Nutritious w/ percussion by Steven Chopeck w/ visuals by Mamiko Kuchida plus special guest ElaNEF
  • ($12) Eli “Paperboy” Reed  @ The Bellhouse
    • Justin Townes Earle (opening for Eli Reed) @ The Bell House
  • ($12-$15)  Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey @ 92Y Tribeca
  • ($20) Black Dynamite Sound Orchestra @ Southpaw
  • ($59.90-$99.50) New Kids on the Block @ Radio City Music Hall

Sunday, June 20th, 2010:

Monday, June 21th, 2010:

  • CareFusion Jazz Festival New York
  • Make Music New York ALL DAY FUNK FEST! (Funk Live)
  • ($8-$15 + 1 drink min.) Jim Campilongo Electric Trio (w/ Stephan Crump and Tony Mason) @ The Living Room
  • ($25) The Mingus Big band @ The Jazz Standard
  • ($15) The Roots @ Highline Ballroom (this is odd online)

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010:

  • CareFusion Jazz Festival New York
  • (Free) Dred Scott Trio @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • (Free) Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue @ Late Show with David Letterman
  • ($25) Marcus Miller feat. Christian Scott: The Music of Miles Davis @ Highline Ballroom

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010:

Thursday, June 24th, 2010:

  • CareFusion Jazz Festival New York
  • Funk Fest 6 at Sullivan Hall (Funk Live)
  • ($10-$85) Blues Summit: James Cotton & Friends feat. Taj Mahal, Hubert Sumlin, Pinetop Perkins, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Shemekia Copeland, Darrell Nulisch, David Maxwell @ Jazz at Lincoln Center
  • ($15) The New Deal @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($15) The Late Night Jam Sessions @ City Winery (Part of CareFusion Jazz Festival New York)
  • (Unknown) Chico Man @ El Museo del Barrio
  • ($20 ) Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad @ Rocks Off Cruise (The Half Moon)
  • (Unknown) Victor Wooten @ BAM Rhythm and Blues Festival
  • ($32.50-$38) En Vogue @ B.B. Kings
  • ($35-$105) Herbie Hancock @ Carnegie Hall (Part of CareFusion Jazz Festival New York)
    • Special guests Terence Blanchard, Ron Carter, Bill Cosby, Dave Holland, Joe Lovano, Wallace Roney, Wayne Shorter, plus other artists to be announced

Friday, June 25th, 2010:

  • Phish @ Susquahana Bank Center, Camen, NJ
  • CareFusion Jazz Festival New York
  • (Free) Soul Cycle @ Brooklyn Academy of Music
  • ($10 – $15) Jason Lindner Trio @ The Jazz Gallery (Part of CareFusion Jazz Festival New York)
  • ($15) Harlem Stride: Henry Butler (NolaJazz), Osmany Paredes @ Harlem Stage Gatehouse
  • ($15) The Sam Kininger Band @ The Blue Note
  • ($35) Al Di Meola @ Highline Ballroom (YES!! YES!! YES!!)
  • ($98) Chuck Berry @ B.B. King Blues Club
  • ($41.50 – $156.50) Maxwell & Jill Scott @ MSG

Saturday, June 26th, 2010:

  • CareFusion Jazz Festival New York
  • (Free) Common & Soulive @ Fort Greene Music Fest 2010
  • (Free) West African Band @ St. Nicks, Harlem
  • (Free) Tinariwen & Toubab Krewe @ Central Park Summerstage
  • ($10) Reckoning @ Sullivan Hall (A post Furthur show playing music of the Dead, Phish and more…)
  • ($39.50) Furthur @ MCU Park
    • Featuring Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Jeff Chimenti, John Kadlecik, Jay Lane & Joe Russo
  • ($30- $385) Yes! & Peter Frampton @ Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
  • ($41.50 – $156.50) Maxwell & Jill Scott @ MSG

Sunday, June 27th, 2010:

  • NASFT Fancy Food Shows @ Javit Center
  • ($39.50) Furthur @ MCU Park
  • ($15) Elvis Perkins in Dearland @ Newtown Barge Park (1pm show)

Monday, June 28th, 2010:

  • NASFT Fancy Food Shows @ Javit Center

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010:

  • NASFT Fancy Food Shows @ Javit Center
  • (Free) Dred Scott Trio @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • ($8-$15 + 1 drink min.) Jim Campilongo Electric Trio (w/ Stephan Crump and Tony Mason) @ The Living Room
  • ($25) Robert Randolph @ Bowery Ballroom
  • ($35-$65) Alejandro Escovedo @ City Winery
  • (Sold Out) Passion Pit @ Prospect Park Bandshell

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010:

  • ($25) New Mastersounds @ Rocks Off Concert Cruise Aboard The Temptress
  • ($35) Passion Pit @ Govenor’s Island, NY
  • ($39.50 – $154.50) James Taylor & Carole King @ Madison Square Garden

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The 41st New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

A Russ Agdern Perspective: Part I

Mr. Russ Agdern

Mr. Russ Agdern

What a week!  My third trip to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (Jazz Fest) was nothing short of incredible.  The surprises were many, the disappointments were few, the food was awesome, and when you get to hear some of the best music in the world in one the most important musical towns in the world, you’re in for a good time.

2010 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

2010 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival takes place over the last weekend of April and first weekend in May at the New Orleans Fairgrounds, but, like most parties in this town, can’t be contained in one venue, so Fest spills out in the clubs, halls, restaurants, bars, record stores, boats, coffee houses, laundromats, Carnival float warehouses, street corners and empty lots of the Crescent City.  Two things set Jazz Fest apart from other festivals in my mind – the musical diversity and the food.

Who Dat Ville

Photo by Marisa Harford

While heavy metal, pop, opera, classical aren’t there, and quality hip hop is not so represented (The Roots and Chali 2na were both here in 2008, haven’t seen a hip hop group I like since at the fairgrounds), some of the very best in Jazz, Funk, Blues, Gospel, Zydeco, Cajun, Folk, Rock are all over the place at the fairgrounds and in the venues around town.  Ani DiFranco and Gift of Gab played club shows, members of REM sat in with Bonerama, Pearl Jam, Elvis Costello, Simon and Garfunkel, Van Morrison all played at the fairgrounds, so don’t be fooled into thinking this is solely a Jazz festival, because it ain’t.  Sure, there are 3 different jazz stages at the fairgrounds (one for general jazz, one for traditional New Orleans Dixieland Jazz, and one split between brass bands and Mardi Gras Indians) but there are also two main stages, a gospel and blues tents, a zydeco/Cajun stage… you get the idea.

Prejean's pheasant, quail and andouille gumbo (Photo by Prejean's Restaurant)

Prejean's pheasant, quail and andouille gumbo (Photo by Prejean's Restaurant)

The food at the fairgrounds is tremendous.  It is freaking delicious and goes way beyond “best festival food you’ll have” into some of the best you’ll ever have…period.  I wait all year for Prejeans Pheasant, Duck, and Andouille Gumbo.  Their Fried Chicken and Jambalaya combo is one of the best ways to spend $8.  And I’m not even talking about all the things most folks seem to like, like the crawfish monica, the shrimp po boys, the cochon de lait sandwiches, the mango freezes… trust me when I say you should budget yourself 20 bucks per day for food at the fairgrounds. You’ll thank me.

Photo By Lynn Lesh 2010

Photo By Lynn Lesh

This being my third Jazz Fest, I tend to have a rhythm I like to follow, things I like to do.  Some of my favorite moments of Fest have happened during the in between days or extra days, so I tend to do second weekend with an extra day or two on either end of the weekend.  This gives me time to actually see the city, something I don’t really do as much while the music is in full swing.  This also gives me a chance to catch additional great music at various places, including the Louisiana Music Factory which hosts many in store sets during the days surrounding Fest.  I think this review works best chronologically, so let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

Welcome to NOLA

Welcome to NOLA

Wednesday: April 28, 2010: Day One

Arrive at airport, no traffic on Bronx/Queens Expressway and breeze through security line… only to find a gate full of ANGRY people.  Why so serious?  You see, the airlines don’t apparently know that it is Jazz Fest, even if millions of people do.  So they oversell flights, and are shocked when they need 5 volunteers to go later, but folks already have reservations and concert tickets.  I considered getting bumped, but wanted to get to town.

House of Blues, New Orleans

House of Blues, New Orleans

I don’t normally do House of Blues shows, would rather support local clubs.  But today, they had Kermit Ruffins of the Barbecue Swingers, doing a “Treme House Party” on stage with Walter Wolfman Washington, Dr. Michael White, Henry Butler, and Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews.  This sounded awesome.  Plus, Fesshead Krewe (represented by a metal bust of Professor Longhair) was hosting a party in an empty lot, with The  Rebirth Brass Band and an all star band of Neville-related project alums (Band called “Never Was Brothers”), which sounded great.  So no flight credit for me. Really excited about this House of Blues‘ show.  So excited that I call after I land to see if I should get tickets early or just walk up.  The box office suggested coming early so I head right from my host’s place towards The French Quarter.  On the way, pass by Fesshead Fest, and never have a received a look of utter betrayal like the one I got from the man waiving people in to Fesshead Fest.  The guy was shocked that I kept driving, how could I do this to him?!  But I stopped long enough to hear The  Rebirth Brass Band rock out one tune and was it hot!

Café Du Monde beignets

Café Du Monde's Beignets (Photo by Marisa Harford)

Park on Decatur, run to the box office, snag a ticket, stop by Café Du Monde for some beignets (French donuts with powdered sugar) and some Café Au Lait (coffee with milk).  Great couple musicians jamming on some folk and soul music out front, a sister with dreads on guitar, a youngish guy on guitar, a drummer… another guitarist walks up and joins them, as does a singer, who starts singin’ the hell out of some Bill Withers.  I love Bill Withers.  Hey, apparently, so does Cyril Neville, who’s suddenly standing five feet from me, also checking them out.  I decide not to say anything to him, even though he’s an amazing musician who’s done some amazing stuff, most recently touring with Galactic and burning down The Brooklyn Bowl after The Saints won the Super Bowl.  Another woman walks up and starts singing Aretha Franklin‘s “Chain of Fools” and is fantastic.  This is gonna be a good week.

Go hang with my host for a few moments before I head over the House of Blues, he’s an old friend through social justice work and is a good dude trying to good work in a city that needs it.  Off to HOB!

Photo by Matt Cornell

Kermit's Poster (Photo by Matt Cornell)

Show review:

This show had all the makings of an epic, but some things worried me – like why call it a “Treme House Party” when people can go see Kermit Ruffins playing in the Treme tomorrow night?  It’s Jazz Fest.  My guess is that lineup doesn’t need to piggy back off the show, even if it is popular.  Great opening act, singer and a guitarist accompanying.  Great voice, insane Mariah Carey-like upper range.  But the main event was a disappointment, for a few reasons:

1)      The curtain opened and we were watching a ‘Treme House Party’.  The stage was set with couches, chairs, a bar, and random non musicians hangin’ out, having drinks.  Weird.  The House of Blues brings you a fake version of something that exists for real a couple miles away tomorrow.

Trombone Shorty @ Kermit's Show

Trombone Shorty @ Kermit's Show (Photo by Matt Cornell)

2)      I had hoped there would be some real interaction between the guests, with each other, with Kermit.  But the show was a lot more of Kermit plays one song, special guest X leads The Barbeque Swingers for a few numbers, maybe Kermit joins on one, then special guest X leaves.  LAME.  Don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t actually lame, the musicianship was fantastic, but the vibe was off, and Kermit having a drink on stage, trumpet in hand, while someone else leads his band and doesn’t get in on it?  Weird stuff.

3)      Because of 1 and 2, things were low energy for the first half, which is a shame b/c Walter Wolfman Washington and Dr. Michael White were great.  But Henry Butler really kicked things up a notch with his cover of “Mustang Sally.”  Then Trombone Shorty’s mini set was also great and he brought his brother James Andrews out to do “Skokie” and “Oop Oop A Doo.”

Treme on HBO

Treme on HBO

4)      I’m sure Treme is awesome.  I can’t wait to see the series, actually.  And I very much dig John Boutte, the guy who wrote the song that became the theme.  Still, it sounds a lot like the beginning to “Do Whatcha Wanna“, and I got very excited the four times I heard it this weekend, only to be disappointed.  My guess is musicians in NOLA will be as tired of that song as they are of “The Saints” very soon.

I know folks say that bad sex and pizza, even when they’re bad, are pretty good.  But whoever said those things must clearly not know good pizza and good sex, because pretty good doesn’t freaking cut it when it could be mind blowing.  While pretty good, and probably great for folks who didn’t know they could expect more, this show was probably the disappointment of the weekend.  It could have been one of those crazy moments of synergy when brilliant musicians make something happen, but instead it was a weird, gimmicky thing that was more like an all-star review than the party I had hoped for.

Irvin Mayfield and the NOJO Jam

Irvin Mayfield and the NOJO Jam

Next up, I stopped by the Jam Session at Irvin Mayfield’s new place, called a “head cutting session.”  For y’all don’t know, cutting heads is not just jamming, but is actually competitive combat.  Kinda how a poetry slam is to spoken word and performance poetry.  So, to hear it billed like that, I was hoping for some folks spitting fiyo.  What was going down there was a bunch of younger cats playing some charts together.

Megalomaniac's Ball - Garage A Trois (Photo by Jon Weber)

Megalomaniac's Ball - Garage A Trois (Photo by Jon Weber)

It was great to see them finding their feet, but again, not quite what I expected.  Still, the players was solid, lotsa horn players getting their groove on to “Straight“, “No Chaser” and whatnot.    Good times.  Caught several songs then felt my energy start to flag a lil bit.  While I was enjoying the jamming, it wasn’t worth starting the week off sleep deprived.  It was too late to hit The Megalomaniac’s Ball, featuring Garage A Trois, Stanton Moore Trio, Dead Kenny G’s, Mike Dillon and Earl Harvin Duo, at The Howlin’ Wolf, so I decided to head back towards the rental car.  A good but not great start to the week, was starting to feel a little bummed.  Thing is, some of the best shows I’ve seen at Fest have been the night before, so expectations were great and not met.

So…it’s 2am and I’m driving down Elysian Fields and about to turn onto my friend’s street…when I hear a brass band.  I immediately park.  Last year there were brass band battles on Frenchman, a block away.  I head towards Frenchman and sure enough there are two small groups going at it, with a frenzied group of dancers between them.  More and more players join up, including Clarence ‘Trixzey’ Slaughter, formerly of Trombone Shorty’s band.  It’s getting crazy.  The crowd is getting larger.  For the second time today, Cyril Neville bumps into me.  I decide again not to say anything.  A guy shows up with a baritone (smaller version of a tuba) and another guy with weird saxophones.  A shorter Latina woman is dancing like crazy.  Cyril bumps into me again and I thank him for such a great Super Bowl show at The Brooklyn Bowl with Galactic.

Cyril: Aww, thank you man.  You know, that night… we were Doin Work! You know?

Me: Yeah you right. And brother, you sure were.

Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews has now shown up and though half the crowd is spraining eyeballs trying to notice it is him without staring, he’s unarmed and just there to watch.  The band is taking it up and up.  Two drunk dudes are doing their best to ruin it by stumbling into the band but thankfully not succeeding.  Clarence ‘Trixzey’ Slaughter is KILLING on his horn.  Hell yeah! Finally, the band busts out “Saints” for a while, then second line and it’s a wrap.  Instead of bed by 2am, it’s more like 4:30am now.  And while still a little disappointed about the first show, I went to sleep real happy.  Seen some great musicianship and showmanship, and Jazz Fest hadn’t even restarted.  This was gonna be an awesome week.

~ Article by: Russ Agdern ~

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Ozomatli @ Highline Ballroom

Ozomatli @ Highline Ballroom

I missed RubbleBucket…again….for the SIXTH time this year.  We have concluded that I am not meant to see RubbleBucket.  Period…and when the day comes where I finally do see them, HOLY SHIT, watch out!  It’s going to be one of those show karma moments when they play their best show ever!  The heavens will open up and swallow us whole. So, sorry RubbleBucket…one day when the stars align.

Ozomatli @ Highline Ballroom

Ozomatli @ Highline Ballroom

SO LATE!!! I arrived at the Highline Ball Room around 9:45pm after the most ridiculous of subway mistakes.  I made my way up front and a member of RubbleBucket said, “Get Ready For Ozomatli!”  Seriously? You have GOT to be kidding!!  I was at least hoping for an hour long set?  Found out later on that they had started precisely at 9pm.  Apparently, at midnight, The Highline Ball Room turns into a dance club.  So, they clear out the building and make people repay to continue the dance party. Yeah….good ‘ol greed wins again.

Ozomatli @ Highline Ballroom

Ozomatli @ Highline Ballroom

I had never seen Ozomatli.  I knew they were Grammy winners and I knew they were a Latin Funk group from California.  I had some pretty high expectations because whenever I said there name in reference to attending this show, 95% of the reactions were severely positive:  “OH, YES! You will love them!” or “Awesome! They are so much fun!”  So, needless to say, I was looking forward to this kick ass party I was apparently going to be a part of.  Ozomatli is a Latin/Funk/Hip-Hop and everything-in-between kind of band.

Ozomatli @ Highline Ballroom

Ozomatli @ Highline Ballroom

The band consists of:

* Wil-Dog Abers: Bass, Background Vocals
* Ulises Bella: Saxophone, Clarinet, Requinto Jarocho, Keyboard, Melodica, Background Vocals
* Mario Calire: Drums
* Raúl “El Bully” Pacheco: Guitar, Tres, Jarana, Lead Vocals
* Justin “El Niño Porée: Percussion, Rap Vocals
* Asdru Sierra: Trumpet, Keyboard, Lead Vocals
* Jiro Yamaguchi: Tabla, Percussion, Background Vocals

The members of Ozomatli stampeded through the entire 18-song set without a break and started the show off with more physical energy the MOMENT they hit the stage then I have ever witnessed in any other band.  And they never EVER stopped…EVER!  Just out of control, spaztastic jumping, bouncing, throwing of instruments, jumping into the audience, on to each others backs, running all over, spinning in circles…the list goes on.

Ozomatli Set list

NYC, Highline Ballroom 4/30/10

  • Dos Cosas Ciertas
  • Chango
  • Malagasy Shock
  • City of Angels
  • La Gallina
  • Ya Viene El Sol
  • Esa Morena
  • Elysian Persuasion
  • 45
  • Are U Ready
  • Intro
  • Cumbia de Los Muertos
  • After Party
  • Here We Go
  • La Temperatura
  • Saturday Night
  • Como Ves
  • Ranch
Wil-Dog Abers @ Highline Ballroom

Wil-Dog Abers @ Highline Ballroom

Man, this group just blasted right out onto the stage.  I don’t even think they walked out. They ran.  I absolutely loved it.  However, there was definitely a vibe at this show that was a little different then I am used to.  I had to put in my earplugs, not for the volume of the music but for the volume of the screeching in my ear.  When Ozomatli began, the energy just went through the roof within seconds.  But within those few seconds, the screaming females and physical shoving that commenced was a bit obnoxious.  Like when you are at a Les Claypool show and he is like “PLEASE stop mosh pitting,” and no one listens.  These cougars, yes, cougars, wanted at the men on that stage like it was nobody’s business.

Justin "El Niño Porée @ Highline Ballroom

Justin "El Niño Porée @ Highline Ballroom

So we got this ridiculous audience, a pretty tight location that was PACKED and hot, this band so full of fire that I hadn’t even focused on the sound yet.  All I realized was that I had danced away from my spot to find another and was smiling 🙂  Right off the bat, with Dos Cosas Ciertas, they brought in the Latin Hip Hop with Justin “El Niño Porée on vocals.  I was immediately aware of how tall the Highline Ballroom stage is because the band members were dancing all over the stage and the whole front row was leaning back as to not get kicked in the face. Out of control.  I moved again, still smiling.

Ozomatli @ Highline Ballroom

Ozomatli @ Highline Ballroom

Justin "El Niño Porée @ Highline Ballroom

Justin "El Niño Porée @ Highline Ballroom

Chango was a jazzy tune with Ulises Bella, apparently a jack of all trades, flipping his saxophone in between his jazzy blasts.  This song was fast as shit.  I mean, that Latin vibe was pumping through my veins and building momentum.  Justin “El Niño Porée was jumping so high, I seriously thought of basketball for some time after seeing how high he jumped. What? Yup! Weird.

Jiro Yamaguchi @ Highline Ballroom

Jiro Yamaguchi @ Highline Ballroom

Malagasy Shock gave us the funky jam and Jiro Yamaguchi was on the timpani.  Man, this guy was one hell of a fast percussionist.  His hands flew so fast, there were time I could hardly see them.  I was reminded of Daniel Sadownick and other players who hands seem to fly.  So far, all these songs were in Spanish and I could make part of the lyrics out but mainly I was enjoying the language as a separate instrument all together.

They continued with only one of the few English spoken song, City of Angels, where they all danced in a circle around the stage in unison.  Gallina and Ya Viene were more of the same. Mad energy, Latin vibe, salsa swinging hips.  The couple beside me were going insane for the band and then insane for each other.  Generally I like to dance alone, in my own world, but for this kind of music….mmmmm….I actually wanted a dance partner.  At some points, I almost NEEDED one because this music wasn’t for the individual.  It was passionate and saucy and vibrant…and there were girls all around me, no lie hahaha.  So, ladies, bring yourself a man who likes to salsa when you head to an  Ozomatli show.  Not for every song, but you will want them there for a few of them 🙂

Bella & Yamaguchi @ Highline Ballroom

Bella & Yamaguchi @ Highline Ballroom

Ya Viene was so pretty.  Ulises Bella on a Requinto Jarocho and Jiro Yamaguchi on a Tabla, pulled up to the center of the stage and played their respective instruments. Fast, tight, growing ever faster with each hit.  Out of control audience.  I recognized some pretty keys by Asdru SierraEse Morena brought in Ulises Bella on the flute.  This guy just plays everything under the moon I imagine.  It was time to wonder around at this point…I could not longer stand the front.

Ozomatli and Rubblebucket @ Highline Ballroom

Ozomatli and Rubblebucket @ Highline Ballroom

Rubblebucket & Ozomatli @ Highline Ballroom

Rubblebucket & Ozomatli @ Highline Ballroom

Ozomatli brought back Rubblebucket for Elysian Persuasion.  I had missed them, now I was very far back with my friends and couldn’t see.  Awesome. HAHAHA!!  So, I made my way up to the front and was FINALLY able to see this 5 foot awesome chick raging on a 4 foot alto saxophone with all her might.  FUCKING RIGHT!!!  Asdru Sierra screamed, “We are going to bring it back to the 80’s. To the time of Aqua Net.” Raúl “El Bully” Pacheco killed it on the rock guitar assault.

Ozomatli @ Highline Ballroom

Ozomatli @ Highline Ballroom

This was probably my favorite song of the night. Definitely the one that sticks out the most in my mind. There was hip hop but the underlying beat was funky horn driven and there was a real nice talented jam up there for a few minute instead of a performance and I loved it at that moment.  The musicians were playing and not dancing around hardly,as I don’t think they can ever switch off haha  They were focusing on their tunes, not on us. But in a good way.  Enveloped in their playing, feelin’ it…ahh, live music!

Fire Away CD

Fire Away CD

“This is a special night for us”..(everyone laughs)…”I mean, yall!!” says Asdru Sierra, in between blowing his trumpet. “We got a new album out,” he says, “called Fire Away.”  The band was still bouncing around the stage.  “45,” a slow funky song with major sax action and &  Are U Ready, an oldie but a goodie, were next.

Jiro Yamaguchi @ Highline Ballroom

Jiro Yamaguchi @ Highline Ballroom

Cumbia de Los Muertos, off their self-titled debut CD, had everyone screaming.  The clarinet was out now and they teased Bob Marley’s Stir It UpUlises Bella just chucks the clarinet  and sends it flying through the air to Wil-Dog Abers.  He catches it and returns it as we all sing along to Bob.  These guys are just straight performers.  Fun, fun! All the females up front are getting drunker now and the cameras are out.  Wil-Dog Abers shakes his butt in the cameras and these guys just pump out he sexy to their adoring fans for sure.

After Party got me movin’ pretty hard. “We love you New York, for a specific reasons.  There is always some shit poppin’.”  Everyone was side by side, doing unison dances.  People were hugging during this song.  They broke out into a modern song medley of sorts in the middle of the rage.  First it was Shaggy’s Luv Me, Luv Me but someone on stage said, “Nah! That’s whack, that’s whack.”  So, I’ll Take You There by The Staple Singers gave us a ride.

Ulises Bella @ Highline Ballroom

Ulises Bella @ Highline Ballroom

Here We Go was next which had Ulises Bella on a blowing keyboard thing.  It made a synthesizer sound that went oddly along with the underlying ozo Latin vibe.  Temperatura was dedicate to Arizona regarding that bullshit immigration law!  There was a huge salsa rage and lots of horns. Couples everywhere knockin’ into people. No one cared.  And then in the middle of Saturday Night one by one they jumped off the stage…

Empty stage after entire band lept into crowd!

Empty stage after entire band lept into crowd!

They raged the remaining few songs in the middle of the venue. Each and every member of the band.  I’ve been told that this is a common happening.  I can see why though.  For at least another 10 minutes the band raged in the center of the venue.  The entire audience shifted around on the floor and the stage was now empty.  I could only imagine the view the people on the top floor of the venue were getting.  Certainly a great show!  I leaned against the stage for the remainder of the set, watching this insane tornado unfold in front of me.  Pretty soon there was a conga line and they made about four passes before walking out the door.  And the show was over.

Entire Ozomatli crew ragin in the middle of venue!

Entire Ozomatli crew ragin in the middle of venue!

This is the kind of show where I will never be able to reach that intense maximum high that you get from first time experiences.  When you don’t see those kind of things coming in the performance, they are real treats, exciting and fun!  Which is exactly what this was. This was totally fun but  I wonder what to expect next time as now know these big moments of flare are coming.  In the end, they are ragers with energy for sure who put on a great performance.  Definitely one I will make sure and catch again sometime very soon…next time with a dance partner 🙂

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Last Thursday, March 25, 2010, there were a few great musical options to choose from and I was having an internal struggle. MoonAlice and Some Cat From Japan were playing at The Brooklyn Bowl for $5, while Tower of Power was playing at B.B. Kings for $30.

Tower of Power @ B.B. Kings (03.25.10)

Tower of Power @ B.B. Kings (03.25.10)

If I had planned better, I could have attended the 7:30pm show of Tower of Power and ran to The Brooklyn Bowl to catch Some Cat From Japan at 10:30pm. While on the phone with a friend debating on my plan of action, I was feed a little anecdote.  He explained how when it comes to these seasoned bands, it’s best to attend the later show so that they can use the earlier show as a warm-up.  When it was all put into perspective, I knew what decision I would make!  TOWER OF POWER, and for many reasons…

1. I had never seen them before!!

2. I was on the guest list so $30 back in my pocket

3. I wanted to stay closer to home and this was in Manhattan vs. Brooklyn

4. I had never seen them before!!

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Times Square Mural by Sofia Maldonado

Times Square Mural by Sofia Maldonado

Being that this was an event scheduled on the NYC Funk Live’s Meetup group site, I knew I would be with some music heads to enjoy the show with.  I arrived first and joined the LOOOONG line outside which stretched all the way to the end of the block.

Sometime between February’s Fat Tuesday Show with George Porter Jr. and tonight’s Tower of Power show, a thought-provoking mural had been erected along 92 feet of Times Square Mural by Sofia Maldonado the sidewalk down West 42nd Street commanding the attention of all who walked by with its loud and vibrant portrayal of “Strong Women.”

The mural was envisioned and designed by Sofia Maldonado, a Puerto Rican/Cuban artist.  She was commissioned by the Times Square Alliance to create a work of art and that she did. Go check it out:

While studying the mural and getting completely lost in its intricacies and the statement that is was screaming at me, members of NYC Funk Live group started arriving and our section of the line began to bubble out as our group grew while waiting.

After 25 minutes of waiting in 3 stages of the line, we were finally in.   There were tables lining every inch of available dance space. By the time were we ushered in, there were only a few available tables left, all with horrible sight lines of the stage. Not that it mattered as none of us wanted to eat, nor did we want to have to pay a minimum of $20 a person for drinks. And , of course, we certainly didn’t want to SIT at a funk concert…PERIOD!!!

Tower of Power took the stage within minutes and we were immediately confronted with more confusion. Obviously we had to stand but where?  Where could we put our jackets/scarves/bags since there is no coat check?   Where do we dance if there is no dance floor?  B.B. Kings strikes again…but let’s get to the good stuff!!!!!

Tower of Power is a horn-heavy jazzy, funky explosion of sound.  One of the first funk/pop groups to incorporate multiple ethnicities, Tower of Power blasted out of the 60’s and remains a founder of funk today, empowering and inspiring younger musicians. Below is the only video I took of the night! Too busy dancing…

The wonderful group of musicians that blessed the stage that night as Tower of Power were:

  • Larry Braggs – Lead Vocalist
  • David Garibaldi – Drums
  • Tom E. Politzer – Lead Tenor sax
  • Emilio Castillo – Tenor Sax
  • Roger Smith – Keyboards
  • Adolfo Acosta – Trumpet
  • Stephen “Doc” Kupka – Baritone Sax
  • Jerry Cortex – Guitar, back up vocals
  • Mic Gillette – Trumpet, Trombone, Flugelhorn
  • Francis Rocco Prestia – Bass
Al Chez w/ TOP (03.25.10)

Al Chez w/ TOP (03.25.10)

Special Guests that night included Al Chesnovitz, or Al Chez, former TOP member and Letterman Show band member, and Lenny Pickett, Former TOP Lead Tenor and Musical Director for Saturday Night Live.

Set ListWhat is Hip?, This Time It’s Real, You Got To Funkifize, You Ought to be Having Fun, So Very Hard to Go, There’s Only So Much Oil in the Ground, Get Yo’ Feet Back on the Ground, Hip Street, and Give Me the Proof, and Walking up Hip Street!  ~~~~ (I am sure there are a few I didn’t catch but they only played from 10pm-1130 so there wasn’t room for many songs.)

Larry Braggs of TOP (03.25.10)

Larry Braggs of TOP (03.25.10)

Lead singer, Larry Braggs, is utterly amazing. AMAZING!!!!  I can absolutely see why all the women were swooning while he sang the slower ballads and why they drooled when he blasted out louder, funkier songs like This Time It’s Real.  During Startime, the James Brown tribute melody from the “Great American Soulbook,” I literally had tingles down my spine when he sang.

I have only recently been focusing on the singing/vocals when I attend shows. Normally, I take apart the entire song and pick and choose which instruments to focus on at any given time and then phase them all back together in my head to hear the song.   The vocals fall by the way side because they are just poetry to me and I can just read them later.  But with Larry, I was always drawn away from the instruments and back to the vocals. It wasn’t the lyrics, it was just his voice.  This has only really ever happened with a few male singers as I am drawn to female voices. Very strange.

Doc & @ B.B. Kings (03.25.10)

Doc & Emilio Castillo @ B.B. Kings (03.25.10)

It was during the more well-known songs, What is Hip and This Time It’s Real, that the folks sitting at the tables were able to find their dancing legs and rise.  However, it only took a few notes out of the horn section during the first song to get those of us with the NYC Funk Live group dancing.  Meredith N., our group’s founder, found us a tiny sliver of dancing space to the left of the stage in front of an abandoned reserved table.  It was a horrible space to view the band but we HAD to boogie…so, priorities!!  And move we did….it became infectious.  Meredith proceeded to dance up and down the aisles of BORING seated patrons which got a few laughs and eventually a large group of people were on their feet or silly business men were trying to dance with us haha.

Roger Smith @ B.B. Kings (03.25.10)

Roger Smith @ B.B. Kings (03.25.10)

I LOVE the Baritone Sax, so naturally, Stephen “Doc” Kupka was a favorite. That instrument pinged thorough my head with every note. Apparently, it was Doc’s birthday that night as well.   Happy Birthday Doc!

I have to say, though, that the keys player, Roger Smith, killed it during his solos.  During Hip Street, the horn section left the stage leaving Roger to solo on the B-3 and David Garibaldi to back him on drums.  I knew I wanted a picture of Roger and I was immediately pulled in his direction when the solo began.  Unfortunately, I was focusing too much on his solo to take a decent shot.   Eventually, the horns joined back in, the song was complete and I could care less about the picture as Tower of Power had just laid one on us with that song and was about to hand us another rager with Give Me the Proof.

Tower of Power @  B.B. Kings (03.25.10)

Tower of Power @ B.B. Kings (03.25.10)

Bass player, Jerry Cortez, joined the group last year but only started touring with them in January so this was a treat.  His background vocals blended well with Larry’s but I was more interested in hearing him play that bass.

The band went on at 10pm, finished their set at 11:21 and came out for one more song. We were out of there by 11:50pm after we helped Meredith N. hand out her NYC Funk Live notices.  Walking to the subway with my funky friends, we all agreed that despite the lack of dance floor, we were all very pleased with the high octane funk that we were just delivered.

Tower of Power @  B.B. Kings (03.25.10)

Tower of Power @ B.B. Kings (03.25.10)

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