Sunday, August 23, 2009
Friday was the first official day of our (ph)amily vacation, and what better way to kick it off than at a Phish show? So we moseyed our way up to Sully's Pub on a sunny afternoon to hear the McLovins play a two hour show to kick off the festivities that would continue for another twelve hours.
And what a twelve hours it was... The McLovins did great covers of Tweezer and Shakedown Street as well as a few originals during the first set. My two favorites are Bri (In Memory Of) and a new one which, if I remember correctly, is called Virtuous Circle. That one's all about trading lyrics and a nice fast pace. Now that I think about it, the music and the title work together well. Can we get more of that one soon, boys?
Backwards Down the Number Line, a recent addition to the Phish repertoire (which, on a side note, I have begun to think of as a favorable one), opened the second set and lots of dancing was definitely in order over the next hour or so. We got free bubbles!The cool thing is, I got to chat with the band and their manager (a parent, but it's still cool) for a few minutes at the Phish show; we spotted them hanging out by the merch counter and went over to hang for a while. I hinted at maybe a McLovintastic Spring Dance Weekend '10? I'll work on it.
Getting chummy with the band
Tailgating in the parking lot before Phish
Phish, the main event. In one word? Phantastic. Such a great set list, including Colonel Forbin's Ascent into Fly Famous Mockingbird, Icculus, and Psycho Killer (Talking Heads), all songs that haven't graced the stage for at least nine years each. It was very very very cool. Personal favorites of the night (excluding ones already listed) include Punch You in the Eye (show opener), I Didn't Know, Ghost, Piper, and, of course, YEM... I just remembered I liked everything. So basically the whole show. :)
Here's the set list:
Hartford Meadows, 8/14/09 8:00pm
Punch You In The Eye
Colonel Forbin's Ascent
Fly Famous Mockingbird
Birds of a Feather
I Didn't Know
Middle of the Road
Down With Disease
Slave to the Traffic Light
Water in the Sky
You Enjoy Myself
E: While My Guitar Gently Weeps
With a setlist like this, there's not really much you can do other than bask in the awesomeness. So here's sort of an inkling of what said awesomeness entailed.....
Fun, fun fun. Can't wait till next time.
As for more blogging adventures, I'm going into the city to see the Ryan Montbleau Band play on a cruise around Manhattan this Thursday night. It won't be long until we reunite, old chaps.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
And this music? Seriously GOOD.
I caught the tail end of Snehasish Mozumdermmm & Som, and was intrigued to find myself in a state of somewhat hypnosis after a short twenty minutes. There was a heavy Indian vibe happening up there, complete with a double-necked mandolin. To add a modern jazz element into the music, there was a synthesizer and a guy who switched off between the soprano sax and the flute.
What I began to notice after a few minutes was the structure of the music. It may have been because I was gearing up for Phish the next night (! more on this later), but their music seemed to be structurally similar, trading heavy riffs and light interludes and lots of different sections to the songs.
As for sound, there was a lot of flute/soprano sax solos- very fast and furious, lots of slurred, Jethro Tull-esque sound quality. I caught myself thinking that I would love to get some of this guy's music on my iPod, but would I see them live again? Only if the winds of fortune and coincidence blew my way.
This is the only music I could find of his on the internet, but I would check it out, albeit the fact that it is a myspace:
Jake Shimabukuro was the second set, a native of Honolulu who played the ukalale like no other. Before plucking a single note, Jake stood up and announced to the crowd that he was greatly influenced by his two heros- Bruce Lee and Van Halen (cue the mental groans from elizabeth). But once he started playing, I came to terms that maybe a ukalale inspired by Van Halen isn't such a bad thing- there was so much passion in every song, every stroke and pick of a string.
What really intrigued me about this guy is the way he could imitate the style of other instruments and genres, while still able to capture a unique vibe and sound (mostly due to his medium, I suppose). I was able to find a few of his tunes on youtube to share with you all, including some of my favorites of the night:
"Blue Roses Falling," which captured such beauty and imagery in my mind, prompted by the title alone.
"Let's Dance" Flamenco-inspired goodness
"While My Guitar Gently Weeps" self-explanitory. He ended the set with this one and Ave Maria.
None of his songs have lyrics, but I find the music doesn't need them. The ukalale has a strong voice and speaks for itself. I could definitely conjure images and emotions though the music, no words needed.
As for Derek? What more can be said about their sound than soul-lurchin, foot-stompin, guitar-shreddin blues. But not just blues you say? No kids, it's much more. In fact, the Derek Trucks Band is the first band I, in my youth, that intrigued me because I couldn't put a label on it. Was it world music? Blues? Gospel, even? Funk? World? Or just plain groovy? My attempts to figure out just what they were about took me many shows, recordings, and albums to mull through. And the final result? Undecided. Although Derek Trucks was the lead guitarist for the Allman Brothers, he lends his talent to a more funktastic vibe on his own.
Highlights of this show included This Sky and Joyful Noise, both tracks that I have loved for years, and will for years to come. Truly beautiful stuff. I actually found a recording of the show I was at on youtube with good quality.. enjoy my friends.
So adieu, loves. Until next time..
Saturday, August 8, 2009
The sole reason I will be doing the hour-and-a-half drive to check them out? I bought tickets to the Phish show that evening.
So two awesome bands in one day?
Peace, love, and quinoa,
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
I have a new show in the works! Thursday night, August 13, I'll be at a Derek Trucks Band show! I haven't seen them in ages- I'm so excited. They're going to be at the Damrosch Park Bandshell, a.k.a. some venue I've never heard of before in the city. But still!
Also on the playbill are Snehasish Mozumder & Som and Jake Shimabukuro.. I've never heard of them but here's the low-down of all three artists from the website:
Three exploratory string virtuosos expand the boundaries of their instruments. Classical and jazz fusion’s Snehasish Mozumder’s double-neck mandolin is at the center of a band that swings it North Indian style. Hawaiian ukelele maverick Jake Shimabukuro’s extraordinary facility is mesmerizing at any speed. The Derek Trucks Band’s namesake slide guitarist, a member of The Allman Brothers’ extended clan, rocks the blues the modern way, blending jazz, Latin, East Indian, and other global influences.
I actually tuned into Snehasish Mozumder & Som's myspace page.. Their recordings are pretty cool. But the real (and most important) question still stands: what are they like live?
And with that, I leave you.
May the wind always be swift below your wings and the grass green below your feet.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Ryan was scheduled to play at 2:30 on an outdoor stage, so when it started pouring around 1, I thought we (meaning dear ol' Papa Bayne and I) could sport our (always stylish!) heavy-duty boots and tough it out. When the thunder started to roll in, we hoped for the best, although with dampened spirits (hah!).
We managed to get in touch with our new friend Kevin, the guy who was in charge of the music at the festival- he was under a huge blue umbrella talking frantically through a radio to the other coordinators. We immediately bonded over the fact that neither of us have taken off our Vibes bracelets yet! After a few minutes of his of communication with various artists scheduled to play, other volunteers working the fair, and a few restaurants, the plan was set: The Black Bear Saloon was going to hold the rest of the bands for the day! Whew.
After wandering SoNo in the pouring rain for a bit, we meandered back to the Black Bear to wait for Ryan to start when we saw a blue van with Massachusetts plates pull up to the curb.. It was him! We called over to him, and this is the best part: he remembered talking to us last weekend at the Vibes! So cool. We chatted for a minute or two, and then he hauled his guitar and equipment into the restaurant.
His set was great, although brief. It almost seems to me like it was Ryan's Greatest Hits- no jamming or anything. But then again, how could you jam while doing a solo acoustic show? A beat has to be kept. Anyway, so I sipped coffee and jotted down the setlist as it came and went. It was good just to hear him play live, even though the show wasn't as entirely interesting as I had hoped. In fact, I had never seen him do an acoustic show before Sunday, although I've listened to many..
So after Ryan's set (he even came up to our table to say bye! I told him I'd see him in three weeks on a Manhattan cruise- excited for that), this three-man band came on the stage. There was an acoustic guitar, a singer, and a drum setup that consisted of one drum and one cymbal. They said they were from Brooklyn (like The Pimps of Joytime! Maybe they're friends!) and called themselves the Dorie Colangelo Band. They played for about thirty minutes or so, and in the end I scored a free CD! Niiiiice. I haven't actually listened to it yet, but I fully intend to after I wear out my new CSN disk... (became obsessed with them after seeing the band at the Vibes!)
Dorie Colangelo's sound is mellow, with lots of pretty harmonies. If I had to give it a genre, I would say it's a soft rock-tinged folk kind of group. Basically it's singer-songwriter stuff. I think the sound flows very well, and it's carried by her very pretty alto voice. At the end of her set, the singer (I think they said her name is Jamie?) and Dorie switched places- Jamie took over the guitar and the main mic. It was evident she is a singer/songwriter too, but her sound was different than Dorie's: there was a heavier beat, it kind of pushed through the song more. She also had a higher and clearer voice. In sum, Dorie's voice is way cooler, but I almost liked Jamie's writing better.. I'm going to have to listen to her CD and compare it to her set.
So a band I didn't catch at the Vibes? PJ Pacifico. Fortunately I made up for my loss and saw them for the first time at the bar, and I have to say.. I was impressed. So impressed, in fact, that I shelled out ten bucks (ok, dad did) for their newest CD at the end of their set. (For the record, the CD doesn't do them justice to what they can do live.)
So they had a full band setup, with two guitars (the frontman PJ on an acoustic, and an electric), a bass, keyboard/synthesizer, a drumset, and a violin/fiddle. Very interesting. They opened up with a Beatles tune- I Want To Hold Your Hand. It was nice, very mellow, with just an electric rhythm guitar, some acoustic, vocals, and a bit of the violin. In all, very cool.
What is interesting about this band is that although there's a full band set up, the sound of the acoustic guitar doesn't get lost no matter what else is playing. It leads everything else instead- a nice touch.
The violin/fiddle (she was picking it like a guitar for a few tunes!) is also another interesting addition to the sound of the band. There are definitely some roots in country music that can be picked up on some of the solos she completely WAILED out. SO sick.
In all, I would tend to say that the songs themselves groove, but are poetic as well. I picked up on sort of a melancholy, reflective vibe for a few tunes, but all the same very beautiful and fun. I will definitely definitely definitely! check them out again.
When I turned on the CD I bought, the songs were.. average. The violin was missing, and it sounded more like some a generic soft pop tunes than the band I saw the other night. Bummer, they really are fun live.
The next show that's coming my way? Phish in Hartford, CT. I'm bringing a friend along for the ride too! Can't wait.
Maybe I'll write notes on a napkin again? :D
Sunday, August 2, 2009
I arrived at the Vibes on Sunday morning with a smile on my face and a piece of gluten-free bread in my pocket. I caught the last 15 or 20 minutes of The Harlem Gospel Choir, and I honestly wish I had seen more of them. The crowd was quite a sight to see: hippies with dreds stomping their feet and clapping their hands while singing Praise the Lord! During the last number, probably thirty of them held hands and skipped around, forming the biggest random outburst of joy I've ever seen. Very cool.
If they're ever around again (they should be, they're close- only from Harlem!), I will definitely make it a point to go see them. Sometimes your soul needs some good old gospel music.
I had never seen nor heard Grace Potter and the Nocturnals before their afternoon set at the Vibes, but I can say I will be checking them out again. Grace has got such a kick-ass voice, and it seemed to me that she was certainly the star of the show (hence the name of the band?). The Nocturnals provided a platform for her to frolic around stage between her keyboard, guitars (acoustic and electric), tambourine, and the mic. And she was hilarious while doing it! Pretty impressive, if you ask me. I happened to see her parents at the Mad River Valley 4th of July Parade this summer in Vermont. Her dad was playing the keyboard and singing while on a float! Wild. Anyways, the bottom line? She's definitely worth (ahem) checking out.
As for my favorite Green Vibes Stage artist of the day? The McLovins. Yes, the McLovins. And they're as young as their name portrays them to be! Before I go into any of the details, here is the saga of how I discovered them: Once upon a time, I was hanging out by the seashore during the Buddy Guy set, grabbing some dinner. As I was eating, I hear a very familiar tune drifting over to me: You Enjoy Myself, or lovingly referred to as YEM by Phisheads. So I said, "Oh wow, I didn't know someone would have the audacity to blast Phish out of their tent at the Gathering of the Vibes! ...I wonder if it's coming from the Green Stage?" The reply? (and this is ver batim): "No, that's too good a YEM to be coming from there." But how we were sorely mistaken. After dinner we wandered over to the stage to check out the scene, and the McLovins were up there, jamming out! I grooved to the rest of the set (unfortunately we only caught the end of it). The McLovins. Bask in the glory. And that is how they came to be.
These guys are a three-man band, with one guitar, one bass, and one drumset. And get this: the guitarist just got out of middle school! The other two members are highschoolers! These guys are prodigies, and they're going to be big news someday. So as far as that's concerned: I CALLED IT!
That's all for this espionage for now. I am in for a treat tomorrow, Ryan Montbleau is playing a solo acoustic set at the South Norwalk Arts Festival! How coincidental, I live about 20 minutes away. If anyone is looking for some entertainment tomorrow (or should I say today?) afternoon, definitely check out his act. He's playing at 2:30 on one of the stages they have set up (its the one near the Porta Potties!). Simply can't wait.
Crosby, Stills, and Nash:
The Healing Shaman was walking around all weekend: