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Friday, March 13, 2020

Spafford 3.11.20 (Photos)

Steamboat Springs, CO

Photos by Jason Myers (Memorandum Media)

View Jason's Full Photo Gallery Here!


Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Fruition & Katie Toupin 3.7.20 (Photos)

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Spafford 3.7.20 (Photos)

10 Mile Music Hall
Frisco, CO

Photos by Jason Myers (Memorandum Media)

View Jason's Full Photo Gallery Here!


Monday, March 9, 2020

Best Coast & Mannequin Pussy 3.7.20 (Photos)

Friday, March 6, 2020

Bob Weir and Wolf Bros 3.4.20 (Photos)

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Ghost Light 2.29.20 (Photos)

The Ogden Theatre
Denver, CO

Photos by Derek Miles (Miles Photography)

View Derek's Full Photo Gallery Here!


Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Stanton Moore Trio & Nolatet 2.28.20

Aladdin Theater
Portland, Oregon

Words and Photos by James Sissler

With moe., Umphrey's McGee, and Andy Frasco & the UN in town, there was no shortage of entertainment for Portland’s live music community Friday night. But for those who wanted to hear something a little different (or those who slept on getting moe. tickets before they sold out), there was Galactic drummer Stanton Moore’s jazz trio at the Aladdin Theater, with special guest Nolatet. Known primarily as a master of New Orleans-style funk drumming, Moore proved with his 2014 release, Conversations, that he could swing just as hard as he could groove. The record featured mostly New Orleans standards arranged for a jazz trio of piano, bass, and drums, with lots of inspired improvisation. Consisting of David Torkanowsky on piano and James Singleton on bass, the drummer-led trio developed their chemistry with a weekly residency in New Orleans that lasted a year and a half. They arrived in Portland after playing The Triple Door in Seattle to help close out this year’s Biamp PDX Jazz Festival, presented by PDX Jazz.

It was quite a unique opportunity to get to see such an accomplished musician do something, not necessarily outside their wheelhouse, but different from what they usually do, but for the real music nerds, the bill’s main draw was actually the opener, experimental New Orleans foursome Nolatet. Consisting of vibraphonist Mike Dillon, pianist Brian Haas, bassist James Singleton (yes he was on double duty), and New Orleans drum legend Johnny Vidacovich, who just so happens to be Stanton Moore’s teacher, the group released their debut album, Dogs, in 2016, followed by, No Revenge Necessary, in 2018.

Upon entering the theater before showtime, it was disconcerting to see Nolatet’s drums and percussion set up behind Stanton Moore’s drum kit, since typically the opening band sets up in front of the headliner’s gear, and then removes their equipment between sets. Even more questions were raised when the band took the stage without their drummer and began the opening song with Mike Dillon attempting to play drums and vibraphone at the same time. When they finished the song, they addressed the puzzled crowd, announcing that their “leader and patron saint of New Orleans,” Johnny Vidacovich could not make it because he was recovering from a medical procedure. “If anyone can fill in for Johnny, though, it’s this guy,” Mike Dillon said as he welcomed Stanton Moore to the stage to fill in for his mentor. The crowd cheered as Moore sat behind the drums and began to play Nolatet’s “Lanky, Stanky Maestro,” a tune written by the group’s keyboardist in honor of their absent drummer.

Disappointed as they might have been by Johnny’s absence, the audience cheered up quickly once they heard Stanton’s playing on the drum feature designed to showcase Johnny’s playing. No doubt the group sounded different than usual with a different voice on drums, but in true Stanton Moore fashion, the drummer stole the show with his very animated style of playing. Pianist Brian Haas gave him a run for his money, though, at one point standing up and kicking his own stool down in the middle of a wild piano solo. Released from his drum duties, Mike Dillon played some ripping vibraphone solos and had impromptu percussion jams with Stanton Moore that forced some in the totally seated venue to get up and dance.

Nolatet combines the traditional sounds of New Orleans with avant garde jazz, fluctuating from groovy to free, melodic to “out,” or dissonant, and utilizing a broad palette of experimental electronic sounds. Many of their extended jams were punctuated by sudden slumpy hip-hop breaks that surely would have sounded different with the older, more laid-back Johnny Vidacovich on drums. With Stanton Moore’s more aggressive playing instead, the band sounded similar to Garage à Trois, of which both Stanton Moore and Mike Dillon are founding members. In fact, after the two played an epic unison drum duet on a single drumset, they closed out the opening set with a unique rendition of Garage à Trois’s “Omar.”

Stanton Moore did a fantastic job filling in for his venerable teacher. In fact, his improvising wound up being a major highlight of the first set, which is not unusual at all except when you consider that he was basically opening for himself. Since he and James Singleton were each in both bands on the bill, changeover between sets simply required some adjustments to the keyboard rig and the removal of Mike Dillon’s percussion gear. One might have expected Dillon to sit in with the trio at some point, further blending the two bands together, but he had to go set up for his own band’s late night performance at Jack London Review (perhaps this is why he was set up towards the back of the stage, behind Stanton Moore’s drums).

After a short intermission, the second set started strong with a heavy New Orleans second line drum groove. The first song included an extended drum solo that hinted at a more traditional jazz style while maintaining a funky Galactic-esque groove. It wasn’t until the second song that Stanton Moore’s jazz chops really came to the fore. Playing perfect 6/8 swing time, the drummer’s comping could have been mistaken for that of jazz greats Roy Haynes or Billy Cobham. His soloing still sounded more like the funky drumming Galactic fans are used to than traditional bop playing, though. Likewise, most of the tunes, even the jazzier arrangements, tended to have an underlying groove to them. Heads bobbed constantly throughout the theater, and some stood to dance, even though the overall vibe was more serious jazz listening.

Moore’s thunderous drumming was complemented by the gentler sounds of the acoustic bass and electric piano, and the moving New Orleans rhythms were pleasingly interspersed with slower, R&B type grooves. At one point the drummer and pianist exited the stage, leaving James Singleton in the spotlight for an extended bass solo. They then closed out the set with a softer number that showed off Moore’s Philly Joe Jones-inspired brushwork before escalating to a medium swing. They ended a bit late (to the delight of the crowd), and then returned to the stage for an encore that included an atmospheric bass solo and one final drum feature.

After the show, Stanton Moore met fans at the merch table to sign CDs and chat. Those who wanted more music headed downtown to Jack London Review to catch back up with Mike Dillon.



Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Ghost-Note & Ron Artis II 2.23.20 (Photos)

Monday, February 24, 2020

Tauk & Friends with Aaron Kamm 2.20.20 (Photos)

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Oysterhead 2.15.20

1stBank Center
Broomfield, CO

Words by J. Picard
Photos by Nicholas Stock (Fat Guerilla Productions)

"When all else has been done and said, along comes Mr. Oysterhead..."

The mid-winter blues had set in and what better to rip me out of it than seeing Les Claypool (Primus), Trey Anastasio (Phish) and Stewart Copeland (The Police) reunite as Oysterhead with some of my favorite folks who I hadn't see in some time? I had the pleasure of experiencing Oysterhead at Bonnaroo 2006, though at the time it was a little too dark and out there for my taste given the substances that I was on. That said, when the opportunity arose a mere decade and a half later, it was my hope that the project had aged like a fine wine, but triggered by sobriety. While my friends attended night one, I babysat their four-year-old and watched the setlist and the videos of the reunion unfold via social media. Following rave reviews and the desire to spend time with my favorite people doing what we love, heavily discounted tickets were purchased and we were off to the races!

My wife and I arrived at 1stBank Center around 6:45 PM, following a stop in Broomfield for ticket number one, to find the longest lines that we had ever seen at the venue. It was no surprise given the fact that they released a graphic that showed the line set up and the early arrive time of 3:00 PM. We had no choice but to bite the bullet and hop in line. Luckily we had a fun group to banter with and the line moved quickly. The energy inside was electric and we hugged a bunch of familiar faces before purchasing a drink for $21.50 and selecting our seats in the back corner of the bowl. We ripped on a flight of cannabis vape pens and traded goodies as friends swung by our seats to say hello. Around 8:30 PM the lights dimmed and the crowd roared.

One of the main topics of conversation leading up to the night two was whether or not the band would repeat songs, coming from a place of limited material. With the trio saddled up, they opened with "Mr. Oysterhead," to my delight. Menacing screams from Trey's guitar and Les' bass permeated our ears for some extended discomfort. In the background I could hear my friend Jess muttering "Existential Dread" over and over before Les kicked into the vocals. The crowd was fully engaged as Copeland steered the ship towards glory. Eighteen minutes later and the fire was lit. "Oz is Ever Floating" came next with Trey up front, though still a little reserved, he began to open up mid song.

Les jumped into some hilarious banter about his Polish friend saying "happy as a clown" as opposed to "happy as a clam," before addressing the issue of Oysterhead fans being called "Oysterhead heads."

"The Grand Pecking Order" meandered along with it's flippy floppy bass lines and repetitive lyrics and lasted a mere five mins. "Rubberneck Lions" was a return to groove and made me shift focus to Stewart Copeland who was driving, holding everything together and basically soloing in waves. It was more than impressive. It was overwhelming. What followed was something that I saw videos of from night one and hoped would be repeated on night two. Sure enough, out cam Les' "Whamola," a single stringed instrument with a leaver for tension and a stick for creating the vibrations. In addition, Trey brought out his "Matterhorn," a guitar featuring a full size deer antler. What followed was weird, dark, terrifying and delightful. It sounded like an under water war of the whales and slowly transitioned into "Shadow of a Man," a dark number about a man (Billy) returning from Vietnam. It was the song that I was most looking forward to hearing.

The first set closed with "Shadow of a Man" transitioning into Cream's "White Room." The Colorado crowd's energy peaked as they cheered for the debut. I looked around at my friends who were all smiling and dancing. It was a beautiful moment that reinforced our decision to attend. Upon the set's conclusion 1stBank Center erupted with appreciation. The lights came up to a moderate level and the hilarity of set break unfolded. Faces were melted, eyes were crossed and smiles were enormous. We smoked furiously and laughed about life while enjoying the company of our group and those dropping in and out of the evening's adventure. We sat, rested our legs, stood back up and sat again before the house lights sank to darkness.

"I have so much I want to talk about and so little time. Should we get to it?" Les said with a snicker. "Let's get to it," Trey said leading with some strumming.

"Question, question, question for you," Les interrupted. "So, we've been around before. All of us. All three of us have been around the horn a few times. More than a few times. We've played with a lot of people," Les continued. "Yes we have," Trey affirmed.

"We've done this thing where you sit on the stool and look over at the other guy and I know you've done that quite a bit," Les suggested. "I have," Trey again affirmed. "So, what I need to ask you and I want you to be honest with me because we're pals... Who's better looking; me or Dave Matthews?" Les inquired, to which Trey laughed.

"Up close, up close, I mean up close. I know from afar I've got him beat," Les said. "Dave is many things. Many, many better things," Trey began to explain. "Whoa! Easy Tiger!" Les yelled while the crowd laughed and cheered.

"Eh, it's getting a little hot in here," Les said before explaining that the next song was inspired by "Vegas, a penis, some Cocaine and a pair of breasts. Oh, and Kid Rock."

The second set began with the acoustic, "Birthday Boys." Each time the song would seemingly end, they would jump back into it with increased speed. "Little Faces," which was teased during set one's opener "Mr. Oysterhead" returned for it's full due. The song was anthemic, pocket and explorative during the next ten minutes plus and was one of the clear show highlights simply for it's phrasing and depth of the jam. Up next was "Polka Dot Rose" which featured an ebb and flow of futurity and notation. Much like most of Oysterhead, it felt weird, just to be weird and I was ok with that. In fact, it was why I was there.

"Wield The Spade" featured Copeland up front and Trey on the drums, before Stewart joined Anastasio on the kit. The song transitioned into "Radon Balloon" with Les jumping back on percussion while Trey returned to the forefront. The song was only about three minutes long and went into "Army's on Ecstasy," another clear highlight. I was confident that it would be the final song of the set and enjoyed it through and through. The song ended, the band remained and they kicked into "Owner of the World" to close the second set! It was short, but very sweet. After two intensity packed sets the band exited the stage. The crowd was loud and was in no way done enjoying Oysterhead.

Trey, Les and Stewart returned for the debut of Primus' "Those Dammed Blue-Collar Tweakers." I was hoping to hear a Phish song, as they had done the night prior, but was just grateful for more. Les lead with the other two in tow on a path of destruction.

"Trey, so you said something to me backstage which was very heart-warming right before we came on," Les said with a smile. "Yes, I fucking love this song and I have been waiting thirty years to play it," Trey said with an even bigger smile. Les then crossed the stage, extended his hand to Trey, who shook it and then they continued blazing trail. The room lost its collective mind when the trio dropped into the debut of Phish's "First Tube." For my money, it may have been the best version of the song that I'd heard. It was cathartic and it was the result that I was hoping for. The band once again exited the stage and as the crowd screamed the house lights remained dimmed. Oysterhead return with Les counting it down and the band diving into "Pseudo Suicide."

After two full sets, two encores with three total songs and a masterful display of wacky other-worldly musicianship, the show and the two night run had ended. Folks flooded out of 1stBank Center and into the district surrounding the venue. In the distance I could hear and see a brass band performing. People flocked towards it, so we kept our distance while saying "so long" to some and "hey" to others. It was chaos... beautiful chaos. We retrieved our car from the free parking garage and filed out of Broomfield bound for Denver, feeling energized and grateful for what we had experienced. Ultimately, the world is a better place with weird shit like Oysterhead in it...




Set One: Mr. Oysterhead, Oz is Ever Floating, The Grand Pecking Order, Rubberneck Lions, Whamola & Matterhorn Jam > Shadow of a Man > White Room

Set Two: Birthday Boys, Little Faces, Polka Dot Rose, Wield The Spade > Radon Balloon > Army's On Ecstasy, Owner of the World

Encore: Those Dammed Blue-Collar Tweakers, First Tube

Second Encore: Pseudo Suicide

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Gordon Lightfoot 2.17.20 (Photos)

Thomas Wolfe Auditorium
Asheville, NC

Photos by Paul Stebner

View Paul's Full Photo Gallery Here!