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Posts Tagged ‘John Bell’

BATTLE OF THE JAMBANDS:

My Band Can Beat Up Your Band!

By: Brett B.

Brad Pitt in Fight Club

Brad Pitt in Fight Club

Recently while watching TMZ, they happened to show a “street brawl” between two LA hair bands outside of a club.  Now, by “street brawl” I mean 6 skinny guys with a combined weight of probably 400 pounds slapping at each other, so as to not mess up their hair and make-up.  Not exactly a scene from FIGHT CLUB, if you know what I mean.

So, this of course brought to mind the incident years ago when Jack White of The White Stripes beat up Jason Stollsteimer of The Von Bondies over Stollsteimer’s badmouthing Jack behind his back.  Who can forget the photos of the Von Bondie’s bloodied and bruised face posted next to a picture of a smirking Jack White.  Now you might say to yourself “Jack White?  That pale faced thin guy who looks like he can barely bench press the guitars he plays?”  Yes.  That Jack White.  But as anyone who has ever fought will tell you: It’s the little guy you have to worry about.  Small guys always have something to prove.  I would rather go up against someone bigger than me than someone smaller than me every time.  You ever see a little scrawny guy go off in a bar fight?  They look like spider monkeys on PCP.

A raged Jason Stollsteimer...ouch!

A raged Jason Stollsteimer...ouch!

Which makes me wonder, amongst the artists and bands in the jam scene ….  Who’s the toughest?  Now we all know that the jam band scene is the epitome of peace and love and good vibes but let’s just say hypothetically that someone really got pissed off at Bonnaroo and blows were thrown.  Who would be left standing when the dust settled?

Widespread Panic

Widespread Panic

Amongst the old school jammers (Or as I refer to them O.J.’s “Original Jammers”) my two favorite contenders would be Widespread Panic and Gov’t Mule.  To me there has always been something about John Bell that makes me feel that when goes off things could get ugly. There seems to be an underlying sense that he could put a real hurtin’ on someone if he took a mind to do so. And Dave Schools is the last person you would want to get you down on the ground in a full body press. I also have no doubt that Jimmy Herring and John ‘JoJo’ Hermann would be pretty decent back-up if the shit ever hit the fan, as well.

Gov't Mule

Gov't Mule

Now in Gov’t Mule you have a triple threat. (The jury is still out on Jorgen Carlsson).  In this corner you have Warren “Big Daddy” Haynes.  The Jerry Lawler of music. Don’t let Warren’s girth fool you.  The man is a solid barrel of guitar playing fury which would translate into some major damage in a brawl.  Not to mention the fact that he is a pretty tough cookie in real life.  Matt Abts, Mule’s drummer, has always reminded me of Mickey Rourke.  Kind of cool and dangerous.  You know he would be smiling serenely as he stomped you in an bar fight.  And Danny Louis?  There is just something about him that makes me feel he’d make a great hitman.

John Popper RAGE!

John Popper RAGE!

Honorable O.J. mention would have to go the boys in Blues Traveler. When John Popper got pulled over a few years ago in that SUV doing over a hundred miles per hour and the cops found hidden compartments with 4 rifles, 9 handguns, a switchblade knife and a Tazer, you just knew this guy was just praying for something to happen.

Now heading down South, you have some good ole boys who could put a major whoopin’ on your ass if’n they took a mind to do so.  Amongst my nominees would be The Black Crowes and The Drive-By Truckers.

The Black Crowes

The Black Crowes

The Black Crowes definitely would score high in the Potential To Kick Major Ass Department despite Mr. Robinson’s proclivity for smoking herb.  The tension that has existed between Chris and Rich would have no problem being vented against anyone dumb enough to mess with the Robinson brothers.  Nothing says “If I have no problem beating the shit out of a sibling, I will definitely enjoy kicking YOUR ass!” like the love between 2 brothers in the same band.  Just ask the Galaghers of Oasis and the Davies of The Kinks.

Patterson Hood of The Drive By Truckers

Patterson Hood of The Drive By Truckers

I once saw Patterson Hood of The Drive-By Truckers polish off close to 10 shots of Jack Daniels while onstage.  Trust me: If you can drink JD like that and still put on one of the best shows out there today, you will have no trouble getting into a back alley fight after the show.  Not to mention, the guys in DBT all look like they have a straight razor in their boots.  Hell, the female bass player in the Truckers could probably do some major damage, as well.

Grace Potter

Grace Potter

And speaking of women, and certainly not to be sexist, what woman out there in the scene is the biggest badass?  I’d put my money on Grace Potter.  Aside from the fact that she is a rock and roll party machine.  Aside from the fact that she is one of the most beautiful women in music today.  Grace P. is one tough cookie.  So, don’t let that sweet smile and gorgeous red hair fool you.  If there was any one female that could lay the smackdown on you, it’s her.

Alejandro Escovedo

Alejandro Escovedo

Finally, the two toughest individual artists out there playing great music that you would be a fool to cross?  Up first, Alejandro Escovedo.  Alejandro has the pedigree to be a dangerous mofo.  Started off in one of the first California punk bands, The Nuns.  Went on to play in some the coolest and down and dirty bar bands ever (Rank & File and True Believers).  And the final confirmation: He played in True Believers with his brother, Javier.  Two brothers of Mexican descent in the same bar band?  It is amazing that they are both still alive.

Karl Denson ~ Badest Cat Around

Karl Denson ~ Badest Cat Around

But without a doubt the toughest, baddest, man most likely to hurt you so bad even your mama wouldn’t recognize you afterwards would have to be one Mr. Karl Denson.  I had the pleasure of being in the ship gym a few years ago on Jam Cruise and let me tell you something.  The man works out like he plays the saxophone.  With a vengeance! Karl D is one of those guys that you would pray that the first blow would kill you or at least knock you out so you wouldn’t have to feel the following blows.

In closing, we all know fighting is bad. No one ever likes to see anyone get hit or hurt.  But on the off chance I am ever jumped out back of a club after a show, I just hope that it’s Grace Potter that leaps off that tour bus Flying V guitar a swingin’ to come to my defense.

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The 2010 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival:

An “Easy D” Perspective: Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mike "Easy D" Deasy

Mike "Easy D" Deasy

(Read Easy D’s “Prologue” here)

(Read Easy D’s “Wednesday, April 28, 2010” here)

The weather for Thursday looked like it would be the best of the entire weekend.  Partly cloudy, breezy, high in low 80s.  Nice!  We arrived in time to see the first act of the day:  Chief Iron Horse & the Black Seminoles Mardi Gras Indians at the Jazz & Heritage stage.  Some of the Madi Gras Indian acts are a blast.  This act was one of the better ones I’ve seen over the years.

Chief Iron Horse & the Black Seminoles Mardi Gras Indians at the Jazz & Heritage stage

Chief Iron Horse & the Black Seminoles Mardi Gras Indians at the Jazz & Heritage stage

Crawfish Monica

Crawfish Monica

Next it was a quick stroll through the food area en route to the Acura stage.  One of the benefits of Thursday is that the festival is less crowded, hence the lines for the popular food items are nonexistent.   The most popular item is Crawfish Monica, a delicious combination of crawfish, pasta, and a nicely spicy creamy sauce!

Next up:   Kirk Joseph’s Backyard Groove at the Acura stage.  Kirk is a sousaphone player and original member of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.  He has also collaborated with Anders Osborne among others over the years.  The current Backyard Groove lineup also features CR Gruver, a master keyboardist.  Very entertaining set featuring a versatile horn section and nice backup vocals.  I had learned from Kirk that he was having gall bladder issues a few weeks prior to the festival.  He decided to try to deal with it nutritionally so that he could get through the festival gigs.  He did not disappoint with this set.  Stay well Kirk!

Kirk Joseph's Backyard Groove

Kirk Joseph's Backyard Groove @ Jazz Fest 2010

CR Gruver of Kirk Joseph's Backyard Groove @ Jazz Fest 2010

CR Gruver of Kirk Joseph's Backyard Groove @ Jazz Fest 2010

The ‘scenery’ around the stages was starting to build on this slow day.  Let’s just say that some folks put together fest wardrobes and devised ways to be comfortable at the festival:

Jazz Fest 2010 Scenery

Jazz Fest 2010 Scenery

Jazz Fest 2010 Scenery

Jazz Fest 2010 Scenery

Next up:  Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk at the Acura stage.  Dumpstaphunk is by far one of my favorite bands.  The funksters played the now familiar favorites such as Meanwhile, Turn This Thing Around, Shake It Off, Creedence Clearwater’s Fortunate Son.  Music with a message.  I know I put my troubles in the Dumpsta!  Plus the crowds are starting to build.  Dumpstaphunk lineup:

Ivan Neville – Keyboards and Vocals

Ian Neville – Guitar

Nick Daniels – Bass and Vocals

Tony Hall – Bass, Guitar and Vocals

Raymond Weber – Drums and Vocals

Dumpstaphunk crowd shot @ Acura Stage, Jazz Fest 2010

Dumpstaphunk crowd shot @ Acura Stage, Jazz Fest 2010

As the crowds build, the large video screens enhance the experience:

Raymond Weber @ Acura Stage, Jazz Fest 2010
Raymond Weber @ Acura Stage, Jazz Fest 2010

By this time, more of my extended entourage appeared including my Uptown New Orleans friends who traditionally stake out an area to the right of the Acura stage soundboard they call The Condo.

Easy D and friends @ Jazz Fest 2010

Easy D and friends @ Jazz Fest 2010

Amanda Shaw @ Gentilly Stage, Jazz Fest 2010

Amanda Shaw @ Gentilly Stage, Jazz Fest 2010

Next up: A quick stroll over the the Gentilly stage to catch the end of Amanda Shaw & the Cute Guys.  Amanda Shaw is a 19 year old fiddle and vocal phenom who has been playing professionally for several years.  I think the first time I saw her play at the festival,  Amanda was 13.  While she is building a catalog of original songs, she also plays fun covers such as Charlie Daniel’s The Devil Went Down to Georgia and The Clash’s Should I Stay or Should I Go.  By the way, several years ago,  Amanda turned down Disney’s offer of the title Hannah Montana role to sign with Rounder Records and pursue a serious music career.

Amanda Shaw @ Gentilly Stage, Jazz Fest 2010

Amanda Shaw @ Gentilly Stage, Jazz Fest 2010

And then, stroll back toward the Acura stage for some of Gov’t Mule.  There’s something about strolling around the Fairgrounds while Warren Haynes sings Thorazine Shuffle.  The Gov’t Mule Setlist:

Blind Man In The Dark
Steppin’ Lightly
Broke Down on The Brazos
Railroad Boy->
Beautifully Broken
I’ll Be The One
Thorazine Shuffle
Soulshine

Warren Haynes @ The Acura Stage, Jazz Fest 2010

Warren Haynes @ The Acura Stage, Jazz Fest 2010

At this point, I wanted to catch a little bit of Steve Martin with the Steep Canyon Rangers at the Gentilly stage.  En route, paused at the Congo stage where the Soul Rebels Brass Band were playing:

Soul Rebel Brass Band @ Gentilly stage, Jazz Fest 2010

Soul Rebel Brass Band @ Gentilly stage, Jazz Fest 2010

While walking by the Fais Do Do stage, I ran into more of my Krewe who were watching Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie, an excellent zydeco band.  Decided to stay here for a while; it was so good.  Plus the dancers to the right of the Fais Do Do stage are always very entertaining:

Geno Delaflose & French Rockin’ Boogie @ Fais Do Do Stage, Jazz Fest 2010

Geno Delaflose & French Rockin’ Boogie @ Fais Do Do Stage, Jazz Fest 2010

Dancin' @ Jazz Fest 2010

Dancin' @ Jazz Fest 2010

Once arriving at the Gentilly stage, after listening to Steve Martin with the Steep Canyon Rangers for a few minutes, I quickly decided that the energy level was not up to the Jazz Fest scene.  I am a fan of the Steep Canyon Rangers having seen them at the Delfest Bluegrass Festival last May.  On this day, they just didn’t work for me.  So it was back to the Acura stage to close the day with Widespread Panic.   The band consists of :

JOHN BELLguitars, vocals

JOHN “JOJO” HERMANNkeyboards, vocals

JIMMY HERRINGguitars

TODD NANCEdrums, vocals

DOMINGO S. ORTIZpercussion, vocals

DAVE SCHOOLSbass, vocals

John Bell @ The Acura Stage, Jezz Fest 2010

John Bell @ The Acura Stage, Jezz Fest 2010

This was the 3rd time that I have seen Widespread Panic at Jazz Fest.   They always play on Thursday so that they can play a full 2 and a half hour set.  This is the 2nd time I have seen the Panic since the death of guitarist Mikey Houser.  While I miss Houser, the supremely skilled Jimmy Herring is a terrific replacement.  Bandleader John Bell was in very fine voice, better than recent shows I have attended.  They performed a couple of my favorites including Imitation Leather Shoes, Ophelia, and the excellent Mikey Houser tune This Part of Town.  Here is a snippet of lyrics from This Part of Town, music with a message IMHO:

I was walkin’ the other day with my head down,
When I met a man who had his hand out.
So I gave him, gave him a dollar,
But as I walked away I heard him call out,

“Tell me Brother, can you see the sun
From where you’re standin’ now?
I’ve been up and I’ve been down,
But I’ve never been to this part of town.”

David Schools @ The Acura Stage, Jezz Fest 2010

David Schools @ The Acura Stage, Jezz Fest 2010

Here is the Widespread Panic set list:

Love Tractor, Pigeons, Space Wrangler, Walkin’ (For Your Love) > Blight, Thought Sausage, Imitation Leather Shoes > Jam > Proving Ground, Down*, Walk On The Flood > North, Up All Night** >Tall Boy**, Good People (w/Dark Bar Rap)**, On Your Way Down**> Bust It Big**,Ophelia** > You Should Be Glad**,This Part Of Town, Aint Life Grand*

Comment: *w/John Keane on Pedal Steel — **w/The Megablasters

Oh by the way, it was a party at The Condo:

Acura Stage @ Jazz Fest 2010

Widespread Panic @ Acura Stage, Jazz Fest 2010

Mikey Houser (yes, even Mikey, may he RIP, was at the fest!)

Mikey Houser (yes, even Mikey, may he RIP, was at the fest!)

Widepread Panic - painting started and completed during the set.

Widepread Panic - painting started and completed during the set.

Well, after this glorious day, we worked our way back to the hotel.  While working our way through the cab line, I tripped on an uneven sidewalk and fell on my right hip.  Fortunately or unfortunately, I broke the fall with my camera pouch.  I was uninjured, but my camera was a casualty.  I will have to depend on others in my Krewe for the remaining installments.

After returning to the hotel, I was tired and in need of a shower and nap.  My ‘power nap’ ended up lasting 10 hours.  Best sleep I’ve had in years.  So, no club show report for Thursday evening.  Next installment: Friday.

~ Continue to the Friday installment of Easy D’s Jazz Fest 2010 adventure~

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