Monday, August 31, 2009

In The News

The Times ran an article on the scalping industry. The above picture by Dominic Bugatto accompanied the article.

The Strokes Julian Casablancas debuted new songs in Japan.

Phish released the tracklisting for "Party Time"

Noel Gallagher has quit Oasis again!

Radiohead closed out Reading Festival with an epic set.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Currently Listening To........

Arctic Monkeys - Humbug
1. My Propeller

2. Crying Lightning

3. Dangerous Animals

4. Secret Door

5. Potion Approaching

6. Fire and the Thud

7. Cornerstone

8. Dance Little Liar

9. Pretty Visitors

10. The Jeweller's Hands

Their first album Whatever People Say I am, That's What I'm Not, was a smash hit in the UK catapulting them to instant rock stars overnight. The sound was very raw and minimal, but at the same time had an edge to it.

The members of The Arctic Monkeys are in the early twenty's and they have already released three full length albums and a live album. That is pretty remarkable in the music business today. They are enormously popular in the UK, but have not found the same success across the pond in The United States

Humbug the band tweaked its sound with the help of Josh Homme of Queens of The Stone Age and James Ford of Simian Mobile Disco. The Arctic Monkeys may still be youngsters, but their sound on Humbug has grown up. The first three tracks "My Propeller", "Crying Lightning" and "Dangerous Animals" will suck you into the rest of the album. With Humbug, The Arctic Monkeys have set the bar pretty high and it's exciting to think what could be next out of these lads from Sheffield!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Nirvana Live at Reading

On November 3, Nirvana's legendary 1992 Reading Festival performance will be released in CD/DVD, CD-only, and DVD-only formats courtesy of Universal. The double LP version will be released on November 17.

I am very excited for this release. Nirvana is one of my favorite bands of all time and anytime you can get a release of this caliber, it is a must buy. This show was notable not only because it was their last UK performance, but Kurt Cobain was brought on stage in a wheelchair to mock people who questioned his mental health. The DVD tracklist is below.

1. Breed
2. Drain You
3. Aneurysm
4. School
5. Sliver
6. In Bloom
7. Come as You Are
8. Lithium
9. About a Girl
10. tourette's
11. Polly
12. Lounge Act
13. Smells Like Teen Spirit
14. On a Plain
15. Negative Creep
16. Been a Son
17. All Apologies
18. Blew
19. Dumb
20. Stay Away
21. Spank Thru
22. Love Buzz *
23. The Money Will Roll Right In (Fang cover)
24. D-7 (Wipers cover)
25. Territorial Pissings

* not on CD

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Rise & Fall Of The Black Eyed Peas

What do Everclear, Soul Coughing & The Black Eyed Peas have in common?

The answer is really nothing, but they all shared the same stage as part of the 1999 Sno Core Tour.
I remember being at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, watching Soul Coughing perform "Super Bon Bon" & "Circles", while Everclear was still basking in the glory of songs like "Santa Monica", "Herion Girl" & "Father of Mine".

The band that really struck me that night was The Black Eyed Peas. It was their brand of hip-hop coupled with a full live band that really struck a chord with me. I remember buying their debut album
Behind The Front after the show and really digging it.

When you read the liner notes of
Behind The Front the list of instruments includes a Hammond B3 Organ, Moog, Theramin, marimbas, guitar, bass and Fender Rhodes among others. At first glance you might think that you were reading the liner notes to a more traditional rock band and not a hip-hop album.

Behind The Front
is a great record and with that, The Black Eyed Peas had a solid foundation for success. Songs like "Fallin' Up" and "Joints & Jam" affirm that the group has immense talent. The album touches on everything from jazz to funk while maintaining a hip-hop feel.

There is an old saying " If it's not broken don't fix it". The Black Eyed Peas must have felt that there was something wrong.

Let's fast forward ten years. The Black Eyed Peas are one of the most popular groups and have had a slew of radio smash hits. There is no doubt that they can write a really catchy hook that appeals to the masses. I was originally going to buy their new album
The E.N.D. (The Energy Never Dies) to write this piece. I wanted to compare their debut album to their latest effort. Instead, I went to the iTunes store and listened to the 30 second clips of each of the songs to get a general feel for the album. It's a good thing I didn't buy the album.

It is amazing to hear the difference ten years and a whole bunch of computer manipulation can have. The most striking aspect of the album are the lyrics. Not only are the lyrics bad, but it seems that they just put some words together that rhyme and repeat them over and over. This is a stark contrast to the lyrics on Behind The Front.

There is no real semblance of a live band as computer beats have replaced actual drum beats. I am not saying that this makes for a terrible record, but I wonder what this album would sound like with a live band? It is a shame that a group could actually devolve as much as The Black Eyed Peas have.

Pearl Jam 8/24/09 United Center Chicago, IL

When music is honest, it is pure and when pure it is very powerful. It was fitting that the backdrop of Pearl Jam’s set was an image of a tidal wave. For almost 3 hours Monday night, Pearl Jam was a tidal wave force of energy that left nothing in its wake.

Opening the show, ”Hard to Imagine” served as the calm before the storm. With anticipation building, “Corduroy” came next and the band just exploded along with the crowd. The songs opening line “ The waiting drove me mad” was very fitting as the band was itching to just let loose.

Throughout their set bassist Jeff Ament, and guitarists Mike McCready & Stone Gossard would often huddle up with each other and feed of off each others energy, often ending up with one of them spinning off and jumping around the stage.

Eddie Vedder is the unequivocal leader of Pearl Jam. That did not stop him from stepping aside and letting his band mates steal the show. In the only two moments of excess during the show, Vedder stepped aside as guitarists Mike McCready and Stone Gossard took center stage.

Both “Evenflow” and “Alive” featured extended guitar solos while Vedder stood behind the stage content on just soaking it all in. Even keyboardist Boom Gaspar got in on the action. During “Crazy Mary” he took an extended keyboard solo, which has become a cornerstone of the song live. After the song finished the fans chanted Booooom in the same fashion as Boston Red Sox fans cheer for Kevin Youkilis.

As “State of Love and Trust” ended the house lights came on, but the band seemed oblivious. Instead the band dedicated “Fuckin' Up” to Dennis Rodman, who was not in attendance. “Yellow Ledbetter” followed and served as the perfect ending to the show as McCready serenaded the crowd with his rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner”.

You could tell that the band is very humbled by Chicago and it's fans. Chicago was one of only four cities to get multiple shows on their current tour. Vedder was very appreciative as he spoke of Chicago as the band has had some very memorable shows including gigs at Solider Field and The Chicago Stadium.

After twenty years it is very evident that the band are very close friends and enjoy performing together. For a band to be as successful as Pearl Jam is an ego check is a necessary, and that is exactly what they have done for their entire career. The band once again delivered a tremendous performance and added another chapter in the bands storied career. Like a good scotch, Pearl Jam just gets better with age.

Pearl Jam
August 24, 2009
United Center

Set I
Hard To Imagine
In My Tree
Last Exit
All Night
The Fixer
Present Tense
Not For You (Modern Girl)
Daughter (Another Brick In The Wall)
Got Some
Do The Evolution

Encore 1

No More
The Real Me%

Encore 2
Wasted Reprise
Better Man (Save It For Later)
Crazy Mary^
State Of Love And Trust
Fuckin Up@
Yellow Ledbetter (The Star-Spangled Banner)$

@ - Dedicated to Dennis Rodman
$ - After the song ended guitarist Mike McCready performed The Star Spangled Banner solo
% -The Who cover
^ - Victoria Williams cover

Currently Listening To........

Eric Clapton - Me And Mr Johnson
1. When You Got A Good Friend

2. Little Queen Of Spades

3. They're Red Hot

4. Me and the Devil Blues

5. Traveling Riverside Blues

6. Last Fair Deal Gone Down

7. Stop Breakin' Down Blues

8. Milkcow's Calf Blues

9. Kind Hearted Woman Blues

10. Come On In My Kitchen

11. If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day

12. Love In Vain

13. 32-20 Blues

14. Hell Hound On My Trail

Eric Clapton and his band had rented out a studio in 2003, but he didn't have any songs written. He suggested that they record some Robert Johnson songs. They recorded enough songs and Clapton decided to release the project. Later in 2004 a companion project was released, and along with with cuts that did not make the original release, a DVD was included with footage of Clapton performing in the studio.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Rumors: Phish Fall Tour & NYE in Miami

Justin, over at Live Music Blog just posted this, and hopefully these rumors are in fact true.I saw Phish during their 2003-2004 new years run in Miami and it was simply amazing, expect for maybe the P-Funk fiasco.

Phish Fall Tour Rumors

11/20/09 – US Bank Arena – Cincinnati, Ohio

11/21/09 – US Bank Arena – Cincinnati, Ohio

11/24/09 – Wachovia Center – Philadelphia, PA

11/25/09 – Wachovia Center – Philadelphia, PA

11/27/09 – Times Union Center – Albany, NY

11/28/09 – Times Union Center – Albany, NY

12/2/09 – Madison Square Garden – New York, NY

12/3/09 – Madison Square Garden – New York, NY

12/4/09 – Madison Square Garden – New York, NY

12/5/09 – John Paul Jones Arena – Charlottesville, VA

New Years Run 2009
12/28/09 – American Airlines Arena – Miami, FL
12/29/09 – American Airlines Arena – Miami, FL
12/30/09 – American Airlines Arena – Miami, FL
12/31/09 – American Airlines Arena – Miami, FL

[via livemusicblog]

Medeski Martin & Wood Tour Dates

Medeski Martin & Wood have added dates to their fall tour. After having canceled their Euorpean Tour and an appearance with the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra, the band will hit the road with more dates likely.

September 6 Baltimore, MD Traffic Jam Festival at Sonar
September 11 Bridgeport, CT The Klein
September 13 Columbus, OH Newport Music Hall
September 15 Nashville, TN The Cannery Ballroom
September 16 Knoxville, TN Bijou Theatre
September 17 Birmingham, AL WorkPlay Theater
September 18 Atlanta, GA Variety Playhouse
September 19 Charlotte, NC Neighborhood Theater
September 20 Asheville, NC The Orange Peel
October 2 Austin, TX Austin City Limits
October 28 Tbilisi, GEORGIA Tbilisi Jazz Festival
November 12 North Adams, MA MASS MoCA
November 13 Boston, MA House of Blues
November 14 New York, NY Nokia Theatre
November 15 Syracuse, NY Westcott Theatre
November 17 Kent, OH Kent Stage
November 19 Indianapolis, IN The Vogue
November 20 Milwaukee, WI The Eagles Club
November 21 Chicago, IL House of Blues

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Pearl Jam: Twenty Years Later

Yes, Pearl Jam has been around for twenty years!

I was front and center for the "grunge" movement of the early to mid 90's. Bands like Nirvana, Mudhoney, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, & Pearl Jam were leading the charge. Seattle Washington was on top of the music world.

As the 90's came to a close the music industry was changing and the "grunge" scene pretty much went by the way side. Pearl Jam managed to not only survive, but in the process built a militant fan base that continues to grow at a steady clip.

Pearl Jam has always done things different. From the packaging of Vitalogy & No Code to their live bootleg program, the band continues to march to their own beat. Heck, they even tried to take to down the Ticketmaster!

Fast forward almost twenty years and Pearl Jam continues to write their legacy. The band consistently puts out solid records, while maintaining a healthy touring schedule.They are one of the most prolific bands of my generation, and it appears they have no intention of slowing down or stopping for that matter. With no end in site, Pearl Jam will continue to be a kick ass rock n roll band!

Pearl Jam plays two shows at the United Center in Chicago on August 23 & 24. Check back for my review of the Monday night show.

Phish 2009 Summer Tour Stats

The folks over at Hidden Track compiled stats from the recently completed Phish Summer Tour. Check them out.

16,391 - Days Trey Has Lived as of the SPAC Grind
1,143 - Shows Between Last Time Mustang Sally Was Played and ‘roo
178 - Total Number of Songs Played at least Once on Summer Tour
60 - Number of Songs Only Played Once on Summer Tour
31 - Drug Related Arrests at Merriweather Post Pavilion
27 - Total Shows for Summer Tour 2009
25 - Most Songs Played in One Show (Burgettstown)
23:12 - Length - Longest LivePhish Track From Tour (Rock & Roll - Gorge)
22 - Shows Between Playing Birds of a Feather (Biggest Gap on Tour)
18 - Nitrous Tanks Confiscated at Hartford
17 - Least Number of Songs Played at One Show (JB2, RR3, Gorge1)
15 - New Originals Played on Summer Tour ‘09
10 - Number of Times Phish Played Possum (Most Played Tune)
7 - Number of Tweezer Reprise Encores
5 - Shows Played in New York (Most of Any State)
4 - Number of Backwards Down The Number Line Second Set Openers
2 - Special Guests on Summer Tour ‘09 (Bruce and Billy)
0:56 - Shortest LivePhish non-a capella Track (Darien Horse)
0:27 - Length of Shortest LivePhish Track (Hello Ma Baby)
0 - Number of Shows Phish Played on Mondays

Friday, August 21, 2009

Wilco Fall Tour Dates

Wilco is currently on tour in support of Wilco(The Album)

08-22 Biddinghuizen, Netherlands - Lowlands Festival
08-23 Brecon Beacons, Wales - Green Man Festival
08-25 London, England - Troxy
08-27 Dublin, Ireland - Vicar Street
08-28 Dublin, Ireland - Vicar Street
10-01 Iowa City, IA - University of Iowa
10-02 St. Paul, MN - Roy Wilkins Auditorium
10-04 Maryland Heights, MO - Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
10-06 Kansas City, MO - The Crossroads
10-08 Austin, TX - Cedar Park Center
10-09 Dallas, TX - The Palladium
10-10 Memphis, TN - Orpheum Theatre
10-12 Columbus, OH - Wexner Center
10-14 Toronto, Ontario - Massey Hall
10-15 Toronto, Ontario - Massey Hall
10-16 Ann Arbor, MI - Hill Auditorium
10-18 Chicago, IL - UIC Pavilion*
10-19 Chicago, IL - UIC Pavilion*
11-03 Leeds, England - Leeds Academy
11-04 London, England - The Forum
11-06 Brussels, Belgium, Ancienne Belgique
11-07 Weissenhauser Strand, Denmark - Ferienpark
11-08 Copenhagen, Denmark - Royal Theatre
11-11 Zurich, Switzerland - Volkshaus
11-13 Florence, Italy - Teatro Della Pergola
11-14 Milan, Italy - Conservatorio **
11-16 Amsterdam, Netherlands - Paradiso
11-17 Eindhoven, Netherlands - Effenar

Blitzen Trapper support August 25 thru 28
Liam Finn supports October 1 thru 16
* With special guests Tortoise
** With special guests Grizzly Bear

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Currently Listening To........

Mad Season - Above
1. Wake UP
2. X-Ray Mind
3.River of Deceit
4. I'm Above
5. Artificial Red
6. Lifeless Dead
7. I Don't Know Anything
8. Long Gone Day
9. November Hotel
10. All Alone

Mad Season was a side project started by Mike McCready, guitarist for Pearl Jam. McCready recruited Barrett Martin of Screaming Tree's (Drums), John Baker Saunders of The Walkabouts (Bass) and Layne Stanley of Alice in Chains (vocals). Unfortunately, Above would be the only album that the band would release due to the tragic deaths of John Baker Saunders and Layne Stanley.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Great Lake Swimmers Announce Fall Tour

Great Lake Swimmers recently announced their North American fall tour. They are touring in support of their brilliant new album Lost Channels. There is nothing fancy about this band. Tony Dekker has a knack for writing great songs. I caught them on their previous North American tour in Chicago at Schubas. Check out the video for the song "Stealing Time" from Lost Channels after the tour dates.

Great Lake Swimmers
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Schubas Tavern > Chicago, IL

I Saw You In The Wild
Concrete Heart
The Chorus In The Underground
Various Stages
She Comes To Me In Dreams
There Is A Light
New Light
Moving Pictures Silent Films
Pulling On A Line
Everything Is Moving So Fast>
Bodies & Minds
Your Rocky Spine
I am Part Of A Large Family
Changing Colours
Song For The Angels

Grate Lake Swimmers 2009 Fall Tour Dates
Sep 24
- Higher Ground, Burlington, VT
Sep 25 - The Middle East Cafe, Cambridge, MA
Sep 27 - The Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY
Sep 28 - Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
Sep 29 - Johnny Brenda's, Philadelphia, PA
Oct 1 - The Black Cat, Washington, DC
Oct 2 - The Artscenter, Carrboro, NC
Oct 3 - The Southern, Charlottesville, VA
Oct 5 - The Square Room, Knoxville, TN
Oct 7 - Workplay Theatre, Birmingham, AL
Oct 9 - Union Court, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
Oct 12 - The El Rey Theater, Los Angeles, CA
Oct 14 - The Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, CA
Oct 16 - The Crocodile Cafe, Seattle, WA
Oct 17 - Doug Fir, Portland, OR
Oct 20 - The State Room, Salt Lake City, UT
Oct 21 - Larimer Lounge, Denver, CO
Oct 23 - Memorial Union, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
Oct 24 - Illini Union Courtyard Cafe, Urbana, IL
Oct 25 - The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis, MN
Oct 28 - Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL
Oct 29 - Subkirk, South Bend, IN ALL AGES
Oct 30 - Ladies Literary Club for Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Phish 8/11/09 Toyota Park Bridgeview, IL

This is my first attempt at a music blog or any blog for that matter, but I am really excited about it!!!! Music is something that really interests me and I wanted to start writing down my thoughts and sharing them with people. I was thinking about what my first post should be and of course Phish was my first choice!

When Phish announced their second leg of their summer tour, I was surprised to see that they were playing Toyota Park considering they had already hit up Deer Creek and Alpine Valley. I was excited nonetheless.

I arrived at Toyota Park and immediately got a nice spot on the field. As I took a seat waiting for the band to come on I ran into an old high school friend who I had not seen since 1997. It was a very nice surprise and it helped pass the time before the show began.

Predicting set openers for Phish is exciting because every fan has their own thoughts for why a certain song should open a show. Tonight, "Kill Devil Falls" opened the show and did a nice job of getting the crowd going. After an unimpressive run through "Sample in a Jar" the band launched into "Ocelot". The jam out of "Ocelot" was pretty standard and the band stretched it out a bit. The first bust out of the show came in the form of "Paul & Silas". The song hadn't been played since 1998 and was a real treat to hear.

Since Phish returned in March, Page has really stepped it up and has really played well at shows. Tonight the band debuted "Windy City", which is a new Page tune. This song definitely has potential and Trey's jam at the end was really cool. The first gem of the night came when the band played "The Curtain With". P
hish has only played it eight times in their twenty plus years as a band. I have been fortunate to have heard it twice. This version did not disappoint and Trey's guitar work on this song was absolutely stunning.

Phish used "Train Song" to bring the crowd back down from the soaring heights that the previous jam brought. "Gumbo" was up next and it was to bad the band did not keep the jam going because they had a real solid groove going. I am not really a fan of the song "Heavy Things", but I will admit the jam at the end of this song was great. For some reason the band was having trouble with the song in the beginning so it sounded a bit sloppy, but Trey picked up the mess with some nice soloing at the end.

"Time Turns Elastic" closed the first set and I will say that this version really didn't do it for me. I am a big fan of this song and the placement of this song is very important. The song is very awkward when it is placed in the middle of a set. Due to it's length it can really kill any flow a set has. I am a firm believer that this song should be used exclusively as a set closer.

"Backwards Down The Number Line" began the second set and it really set the tone for rest of the show. Quickly becoming a favorite of many, Phish absolutely ripped this song apart. By completely abandoning the song structure the band delivered the best jam of the night. A rocking "Carini" picked up the energy again and with Trey and Mike on top of their games. With the second set off to a blazing start Trey started up the opening riff to "Gotta Jibboo". Trey was enjoying himself on this and really delivered some solid playing. This upbeat jam was in stark contrast to the hard jam in "Carini" Perhaps the biggest dud of the night was "Theme From The Bottom". The band never seemed to get in step with this song and the ending was less than stellar.

"Wilson" began and it was really awesome to hear 30,000 people chant Wilson! After ripping this up Fishman, cued up "2001" and the band delivered a solid version. I would say this song has lost its luster a bit. It seems like Mike's bass isn't as funky as he should be! No flubs on the riff from Trey. I didn't like the placement of "Chalkdust Torture", but the band was on and it sounded good. "Harry Hood" was next and was played well compared to some earlier versions this summer. "The Squirming Coil" closed what was a much better set than the first. Page delivered a beautiful piano solo, which drew a nice applause as it usually does. I had called a "Loving Cup" for tonight and Phish ripped through this Rolling Stone tune for the encore.

This was Phish show number twenty two for me and it was not one of the better shows I have seen. The band had some really nice jams peppered through each set, but there didn't seem to be much flow as a whole. I am very excited that Phish is back and I look forward to my next adventure with them!

Like I said, this blog is a work in progress and so is my writing. I haven't done much writing so bear with me. I have some ideas for my blog and I am really looking forward to sharing my thoughts.

Phish > 8-11-09 Toyota Park Bridgeview, IL
Set I: Kill Devil Falls, Sample in a Jar, Ocelot, Paul & Silas*, Windy City^, The Curtain With, Train Song, Gumbo, Heavy Things, Time Turns Elastic
Set II: Backwards Down The Number Line> Carini, Gotta Jibboo, Theme From The Bottom, Wilson, Also Sprach Zarathustra> Chalkdust Torture, Harry Hood, The Squirming Coil
Loving Cup

Notes: *Last Time Played 11/29/98 (206 Shows), ^First Time Played (New Page song)