October 14, 2008

Treasure Island Music Festival 9.20.08

After arriving on 'the island' in the midst of the Bay Bridge that connects Oakland to San Francisco, albeit a tad late, via the shuttles from the Giants baseball stadium parking lot, I was a little disappointed to have missed Aesop Rock, but more on why later. We were told however, that he had the crowd turned into 'a tiny fascist army full of chanting and unusual hand movements.' How's that for a review?

The first band that I saw take the stage was Hot Chip, a pop-synth band from England that took Treasure Island back to the time of David Bowie. Now IF the Talking Heads were to announce a tour, (and wouldn’t that be incredible although very unlikely) Hot Chip would be a front runner for their opening band. Their sound is full of danceable grooves that come by way of a multitude of instruments. From my vantage point about twenty rows back on the left, there were many performers on stage and I’m quite sure that I heard many different instruments. At one point, I saw someone with an accordion and another time they had a xylophone looped through a synthesizer. Their music could be described as danceable funk, electro, rock and almost any genre of music except maybe country and classical. I wish I knew more about this band and their songs, so I could give a more detailed report using the names of their songs, but sometimes the musical experience is about first reaction. The songs had a deep guitar funk backed by a synthized instrument of some sort, but most notably the Casio. This band would be great to have as a late night show at The Mezzanine with a dance party lasting all night. They keep your attention and are engaging also. I will be sure to check out this band in the future, and hopefully that be at The Mezzanine (in SF) around 5:00 a.m!

With two alternating stages there was little time to wait until the start of the next band and my next musical experience was from CSS, a Brazilian pop band who took the stage by storm. This band had superb energy and so did the fans. I thought it would be fun to get into the mix and try to get closer to the stage, which turned out to be my first mistake. Once the band took the stage, it was an all-out dance party full of people frailing every which way they could. The crowd was full of young hipsters with even a couple of young Asian lesbians making out right next to me! The train called CSS, was engineered by a spastic lead singer who came on stage wearing what could only be described as 'fluffed up trash bag.' During her screaming vocals the sound was transcended by the two female lead guitarists who could shred with the best of them. Again, I was experiencing all of this music for the first time and am not familiar with their songs, but was not disappointed to say the least. After losing the battle for space in the front, I retreated to the back of the crowd. All in all, CSS was a fun band with a stage presence and crowd response that could not be beat.

JUSTICE, up next, in the words of a friend, killed it. I don’t know what they put in the water in France, but the DJ’s that come out of that place can't be beat. Their stage had what appeared to be an upside down cross illuminated with a bright yellow light. During their set, it turned into an all-out dance party, with people throwing drinks and whatever they could to express their bliss. I even recognized a gentleman who I had seen at Rock The Bells at Shoreline Amphitheatre from a few weeks before. The guy was 'a legend,' decked out in biker spandex and doing high leg kicks while sweating profusely. JUSTICE, came to town and conquered the little island in the bay.

Describing the overall scene on a gorgeous day at Treasure Island was a fun experience with young kids and aging hipsters. The booths were engaging with everything from Sheppard Fairy paintings, who had an exhibit nearby in downtown SF, to another booth selling tiny replica guitars of past greats, not quite your run-of-the-mill festival nick-knacks.

I’m looking forward to the festival next year and won’t be making the mistake of taking the shuttles, as they encourage you to, when I want to see a band perform, when there is plenty of parking on the island right next to the music.

Remember - Music + a Ferris Wheel = A Wonderful Festival!

by Matthew Burns

Bon Jovi, Panic Get Touring Conference Honors

Bon Jovi's Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation and Widespread Panic will be honored with special awards at the 2008 Billboard Touring Awards on Nov. 20 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York.

Additionally, Widespread Panic will play the intimate Fillmore at Irving Plaza in New York on Nov. 19 in a special benefit concert for the Bill Graham Memorial Foundation. Registrants for the Nov. 19-20 Billboard Touring Conference will be able to take part in a pre-sale on Oct. 16 for the "evening with" Panic show; the general public on-sale is Oct. 18.
Bon Jovi's Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation will be honored with the Humanitarian Award, which recognizes the philanthropic efforts of a touring professional. Jon Bon Jovi's mission to provide affordable housing to those in need has spread across the country and internationally, and began even before he and the ownership group of the Arena Football League's Philadelphia Soul decided to structure the nonprofit Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation in October 2006.
Most recently, 51 units of housing in partnership with HelpUSA were announced for Newark, N.J., bringing the number to 140 of affordable housing units Bon Jovi and the Foundation have been involved with since 2005.
Previous Humanitarian Award winners include Clear Channel Entertainment (2004), Dave Matthews Band (2005), Music Rising (2006), and Kevin Wall/Live Earth (2007). "Few efforts are more 'humanitarian' than helping provide shelter for people in need. We're proud to recognize the efforts of Jon Bon Jovi and the Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation with the 2008 Humanitarian Award," says Ray Waddell, Billboard's executive director of content and programming, touring and live entertainment. Also at the Billboard Touring Awards, Widespread Panic will receive the first-ever Road Warrior award. This honor was conceived to recognize work ethic, steadfast dedication to touring year after year, and a commitment to the art and craft of live performance.
"The Road Warrior award acknowledges a band that might not always grace the top of the Billboard Boxscore charts, but whose professionalism, on-stage charisma and ability to sell tickets over a long period of time provide a huge boost to the overall touring industry," says Waddell. "As promoters, venue managers and, of course, fans from coast to coast know, Widespread Panic more than meets all these criteria."
The Bill Graham Memorial Foundation was formed in November of 1991 following the death of the legendary rock impresario Bill Graham. The Foundation awards grants primarily in the areas of music, the arts and education, while also supporting social work, environmental protection, and spiritual and compassionate projects in communities.
"We're thrilled to give our conference attendees an opportunity to not only see one of the great live bands ever in this intimate setting, but to also support a wonderful cause in the Bill Graham Memorial Foundation," says Waddell.
The Billboard Touring Awards honors the most successful tours, artists and professionals of the year, primarily determined by the Billboard Boxscore charts. Also this year, the Allman Brothers Band will receive the Legend Of Live award.

by Greg Lake

RatDog, Phil Lesh & Friends to Welcome 2009 in San Francisco

Bob Weir & RatDog & Phil Lesh & Friends to Co-Headline each night.
Jackie Greene to support each night.

Dates: December 30 & 31, 2008
Venue: Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
City/St: San Francisco, CA
Doors: 5:00 PM Showtime: 6:00 PM
Pre-sales through GDTS Too and Musictoday shall start accepting postmarks for GDTS Too and be initialized for internet sales via Musictoday, starting on Thursday, October 16. Musictoday to start at Noon EST. Pre-sales for GDTS and Musictoday shall conclude on Friday, October 31 at 6:00 PM EST.
Public OnSale is Sunday, November 2 at 10:00 AM PST.

CHANGE ROCKS - The Setlist
Bryce Jordan Center
Pennsylvania State University
State College, PA
October 13, 2008
Filmed greeting by Senator Barack Obama, Truckin'>U.S. Blues, Help On The Way>Slipknot!>Franklin's Tower, Playing In The Band>Dark Star, St. Stephen>Unbroken Chain>The Other One>Throwin' Stones>Playing Reprise
Encore:Touch of Grey>Not Fade Away
Bob Weir, Warren Haynes, gtr; Phil Lesh, bs; Bill Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart, dms; Jeff Chimenti, kbds.

by Greg Lake

October 13, 2008

I Still Love Living In The USA

In the midst of "Goodpeople" at Widespread Panic's opening show of their 2008 Fall Tour this past Friday, October 10th in Austin, TX at The Backyard.
Listen to the show here:

John "JoJo" Hermann's lyrics transcribed:

"To all my friends, slash rednecks, I dedicate this song to you, I can't help but feel, This time it's really real, So I just want you all to know
I still love this country, God help us all, in the USA Ya Gotta love this place we call our home I still love living in the USA
If you still believe your politicians, I've got a bridge for sale in Brooklyn No money down, and an interest only loanand if you act right now, You'll get a supply of free gasoline for your automobile
Cause I still love this country Gob bless us all, in the USA Ya Gotta love this place we call our home, I still love living in the USA
To all my friends, slash evengelicals, OK, fine, Christ is real, And I cant help but feel, That if Jesus Christ were here, He'd Say, "What the hell, in my name, Are you doing to my Daddy's world?? Well, ya got it all wrong."
And I still love this country God help us all in the USA Ya Gotta love this this place we call our home I still love living in the USA I still love living in the USA I still love living in the USA I still love living in the USA Well, I feel so much better, To utter these letters
Barack Obama please help us now... In the USA"

JoJo Hermann and the Mardi Gras Band have performed this song as well, (titled, "God Bless the USA" on the recording) at their show on September 27, 2008 during their performance at The Windjammer on the Isle of Palms, SC, northeast of Charleston, SC. Download here http://bt.etree.org/details.php?id=518927.

by Greg Lake

October 5, 2008

PBS with Page - Funked Up in NYC!!

Porter Batiste Stoltz featuring Page McConnell
BB King Blues Club
New York City, NY

Never mind this was my first time seeing PBS live. And just ignore the fact they were playing at my favorite venue in the greatest city in the world, BB Kings Blues Club in NYC. I cannot tell a lie: I had come to see Page McConnell, piano man for the newly-reborn king of jams, Phish. I've only caught Page with Phish, always in front of huge audiences, so naturally I was psyched to see him perform in an intimate setting with a band whose sole purpose is to lay down the funk. And lay it down he did, with a little help from his friends. I heard a couple of comments early on which seem to indicate the first set was somewhat tame, with Page playing in the background. I didn't get that impression at all.

Right out of the gate, "Back in the Basement" was all funk, with Page front and center. You could tell immediately they had come to play, with "Seven Desires" and "Wings" segueing nicely into the first "New York City Jam". We could feel Porter's bombs and Batistes' skins vibrate under our feet as we danced without pause. I ask you: Is there a better rhythm section out there than these two cats? I think not. And Brian Stoltz' leads were right in line, if not out front, as the set progressed. They opted to slow it down a notch with Page singing John Lennon's "Jealous Guy", which I thought was killer. Standing 5 feet away from the man himself didn't hurt, as I truly felt connected to Page for the first time in all the years I've seen him play.

The rest of the set was pure, unadulterated, in your face, funk . From "Funky Miracle" thru the set-closing "New York City Jam 2", the exchanges between the band were mesmorizing (even Dylan's Rainy Day Women had the crowd on their feet). And as the set closed, it was becoming clear to me why the "P" in PBS came first - Porter's riffs lead the way for the others to follow. Nicely done.

Second set was non-stop from start to finish, no shit. And in retrospect, one would feel as though the first set was 'quiet' after listening to the second. They definitely amped it up couple of notches, and as I stood on Stoltz's side for the remainder of the show, I got a real appreciation for his guitar playing. Holy shit - that man can play!!

Some highlights: The funky "Wah Wah Mee", the jam-laden, in-your-face, "I've Been Hoodooed", and the NOLA-inspired "Litta Liza Jane". Once again, Dylan was brought into the mix, with "Rolling Stone", which was good, but not on the level of their playing throughout the evening. They finished strong with "Bring the Flood", but not before Russell Batiste came out before the others and gave us a real treat with some outstanding drumming, with a little freestyle rap thrown in for good measure.

All in all, quite the evening. Bottom line: PBS brings the funk, and they bring it hard. I would advise those not willing to shake their ass for 3 hours to spend the night at home. And as for Page, you could tell he was having the best time of 'em all - all except me, of course.

Download the show here!!

**Most pics courtesy of Jeremy Gordon and Hidden Track, Glide Magazine's awesome blog.

And I want to invite all our readers to come say hello to me and my good friends over at Greene Daze, where it never gets boring!!

By Scotty Greene

October 3, 2008

Starling Electric Goes DIY, So Does NYCTaper - DL This Show

From NYC Taper - "The story of Starling Electric is one of those tales about how the music industry is supposed to work. An excellent band from a small midwest city produces their own CD and releases it by themselves in 2006. The CD somehow finds its way into the player of an open-minded musical heavyweight (Bob Pollard of Guided By Voices), who spreads the word about the band. A year later, the same band finds themselves signed to a legendary indie label. Bar/None released Clouded Staircase in August and Starling Electric came to NYC for the CD release party at Mercury Lounge on August 19. The set at Mercury featured eight of the eighteen tracks on Clouded Staircase and four new numbers. The strength of the new songs bodes well for an anticipated new release in 2009."

"We recorded this show from the same location as the Hotel Lights and Shannon McArdle recordings from the same night and other than some minor fan-created draft the sound is superb. Enjoy!"

DL This Show: http://www.nyctaper.com/?p=374

Wanna Have Supper with Steve Kimock?

Check this out...tonight Steve Kimock and Billy Goodman along with John Morgan Kimock (drums) and Trevor Exter (cello, bass) will play an exclusive table-side dinner performance at Mexicali Live in Teaneck, NJ. This special sit-down concert will be one of the few fall performances, while Kimock delves into developing new live & recording projects. This night promises to be an intimate evening of guitar magic and song, as Goodman & Kimock join together stateside for the first time, following their critically acclaimed European Spring tour. Tickets are available exclusively at www.kimock.com.

Could be fun. What questions would you ask the maestro and Dead performer?

Stream Dylan's New Album Free

Ok, so this is cool. Columbia recently gave listeners an early taste of Tell Tale Signs by offering the track "Dreamin' of You" as a free download from Dylan's Web site. Earlier this week, NPR Music started offering a sneak preview of the entire two-disc set as a free stream. The album will be officially released in stores and online on Oct. 7.

Paesano Welcomes Lynx & Janover to the Sierras

Our friends over at Paesano Productions are welcoming 'Folk-tronic' prodigy LYNX & Jamie Janover to the Eastern Sierras for two performances:

LYNX and Jamie Janover create an eclectic harmonic blend of all original hip-hop and down-tempo electronica grooves with folk style song writing, guitar playing, beat boxing, rhyming, amplified mini-kit percussion and the sounds of the hammered dulcimer. Together they have achieved the elusive perfect balance between the acoustic and the electronic, using today's most advanced technologies mixed with ancient live instrumentation to create a unified sound reflective of the polarized nature of our times.

Closing out both nights is long-time Kynd bud Alfred Howard and the K23 Orchestra (AHK23) who combines in the pocket funk, staccato spoken word, classic soul, aggressive rock and vintage psychedelic. The group has invented its own genre by combining limitless sounds capes to create something new and impacting.

Opening the Tahoe show is Reno favorites Drinking with Clowns, who are a band with a unique blend of Latin rhythms and funky sounds that will send you grooving into the ecstasy of dance. Their music ignites a sense of freedom unparalleled to any other musical experience.

Sounds like good times.

October 2, 2008

Bluegrass Legend Ralph Stanley Endorses Barack Obama

Now this is a good ad. There's a new radio spot that Obama is airing in the southern part of the state -- it stars homegrown bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley vouching for Obama's values and character to the tune of some banjo pickin' in the background.

Click To Play

"Howdy, friends. This is Ralph Stanley, and I think I know a little something about the families around here," the spot runs.

"Barack'll cut taxes for everyday folks -- not big business -- so you'll have
a little more money in your pocket at the end of the year," he continues. "I also know Barack is a good man. A father and devoted husband, he values personal responsibility and family first."

Did someone say Obama was having problems with the old white rural vote?

October 1, 2008

Phish 3.0

Phish returns to the stage for three concerts at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia on March 6, 7 and 8, 2009.

A limited number of tickets are available directly through Phish Tickets' online ticketing system at http://phish.portals.musictoday.com/ . The ticketing request period is currently underway and will end on Wednesday, October 8th at 11:59AM EST.

Tickets go on sale to the public on Saturday, October 18th at 10 AM EST and may be purchased online at http://ticketmaster.com or by phone at 757.671.8100, 757.872.8100 or 804.262.8100. Tickets will not be available at the venue box office and there is a two-ticket limit per show.
The band intends to announce additional touring in 2009 early next year.

Phish reunited featuring Trey Anastasio, Mike Gordon, Page McConnell and Jon Fishman.

by Greg Lake