Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Jam of The Day: Hornmeal (Cornmeal + Horns)

Cornmeal Live at Martyrs' on February 24, 2009. <--- Direct Archive Link

1. Crowd
2. Hey Pocky Way
3. Congo Square*
4. Me Big Chief*
5. Down South In New Orleans
6. I'm Walkin'*
7. Fire On The Bayou*
8. Jambalaya*
9. Oh Leah Lee
10. They All Ask'd For You*
11. Aiko Aiko
12. When The Saints Go Marching In*

13. Callback / Crowd
14. Lovelight

Notes: "Fat Tuesday," Dubbed "Hornmeal" Whole set played with 3 piece horn section and percussion.
Kris Nowak and Chris Gangi both on electric whole show, Kris playing a telecaster.
Jennifer Hartswick (Trey Anastasio Band) was scheduled to play but fell ill.
John Beshup Replaced Jennifer Hartswick

John Beshup - Trumpet
Mark Thompson (Chicago Afrobeat Project) on Trombone
Pat Mallinger (Sabertooth Quartet) on Saxophone
Marshall Greenhouse(Chicago Afrobeat Project) on percussion

Bear Creek: Saturday

Words & Photos By Amy Pania & Joe Davidson

I felt the ache of covering six stages when I woke up to the frigid morning. We hung out at camp for a few hours listening to the morning sets from Saltwater Grass and Rubblebucket. After lounging for a while we gathered our gear and made our way to the stages.

George Porter & the Runnin’ Pardners were at the Amphitheater playing an afternoon set. I loved the overall energy of the band, especially George. The good vibes were flying around as the three o’clock sun was shining through the Spanish moss covered Live Oaks.

I was happy to see Dubconscious on the bill. The band has taken a few years off from touring to pursue other endeavors and side projects. They were better than I remembered. I’ve always been quite fond of Dub when executed properly and these guys were up to the task. The percussionist was the first member to stand out to me.

He played a Djembe for most of the set but busted out an arsenal of blocks, claves, and other percussion gizmos. The guitar playing front man has a very unique voice that represents the band well.

After the ride back up to the Amphitheater I prepared myself for a set from the Maceo Parker Band. I’ve seen a lot of shows in my time and this was a particular treat for me. I was very happy to see this act at the festival; it was a chance for me and others of younger generations to witness the roots of music, to see real musicians.

The presence of Maceo was second to none. He connects with his audience in a way that I had never seen before. Ambling around the entire stage he absorbed the crowd and exhaled it out through his sax.

I felt honored after the leaving the show, as if I had just matured musically.

I was disappointed to see that Moe. and the Bonobo Live Band were playing at the exact same time at conflicting stages. I decided to hit Moe. first and run over to the tent to catch the tail end of Bonobo. As we entered the Amphitheater I stopped for a second in awe, in the seven years I’ve been attending shows at this magical location I had never seen so many people packed in. The vibe was so powerful it lifted me out of the bubble of pain I was in and provided some relief for a while. We entered the gate into the photo pit and were met by a wall of photographers, oh the joy of headliners. I found a way to squeeze through the pack and set up stage right, the only bit of comfort I could find. A large roar came from the crowd as soon as the house music stopped and the band took the stage. Bass player Rob Derhak came out on crutches, sitting down with his cast covered leg on a chair in front of him. He later humorously mentioned his broken ankle and told the crowd in the back that he wasn’t being lazy.

The band started with “The Pit” which slowly gained speed up to the climax of heavy guitar solos and strobe lights encompassing the entire stage that were close to giving me seizure. I tried to take two shots in the chaos of the strobes and decided to wait it out.

After conditions were back to “normal” there was a five minute xylophone solo that was completely mesmerizing, reminiscent of Zappa. I wedged myself in front of the bassist, got the shot I was after and surrendered, I couldn’t take the pit anymore.

Once we made it out of the gate we were faced by the insane number of people that were in the amphitheater and decided to walk up to the top and sit down.

I was so drawn into the Moe. set that I almost missed the set from the Bonobo Live Band. I was surprised to see such a large crowd at the tent because of the huge group at the Amphitheater. I made my way up to the front and sweet talked my way up into the photo pit because the three song limit was long gone. I was told that I could have one minute and had to be out. As soon as got into position the lights turned bright red and were pointing straight at my lens, covering the shots shot with a glare. I looked at my test shots and laughed to myself thinking, oh well. My minute was up and I had nothing. The sound coming from the stage was amazing, it sounded better than the recordings I’ve heard by him. A beautiful soundscape was created and the female vocalist was a real treat.

The New Deal was a gem of the evening. Walking into the pit and only seeing a bass, drums, and keyboard set-up, I didn’t know what to expect. The sound created by the trio was astonishing, it sounded like there was a large group on stage.

Amidst the cacophony the band was still able to be clear and precise with their jams. The band broke into a fast jam early into the first song of the set and created a spark early.

Communication between the group was fun to watch, each member looking at each other with great smiles and occasional shouts.

Cope from Tampa, Florida has been gaining momentum the last few years and were happy to throw their local touch on the festival.

The late night Music Hall set was a big opportunity for the band. The band stepped up and rocked the house. With big smiles they were in nonstop motion for the first two songs. A few songs in, the guitar player picked up an empty bottle and started to use it as a slide on his Strat.

The result was a swampy sound similar to the environment of north Florida. I stayed for a couple more songs and headed off to the tent to prepare for the last set of the night.

The crowd was treated to a set from Lettuce to close out the night of music. With the funk bouncing all around the tent, the energy of the show was unparalleled all weekend. The crowd, mostly decked out in costumes, was nonstop the entire set, as was the band.

It is obvious how deep the roots run for this band while observing the chemistry between the group. Being lifelong friends, the members build upon each other to create a powerful sound that can’t be denied.

The straight funk was a great way to prepare for the chaos of Saturday night, and chaos it was.

As the stages were shutting down the party moved to the camping areas and didn’t stop all night. I went to camp after Lettuce, sitting down and not moving for a couple hours due to the wave of tired that swept through my body. I could hear the insanity of Saturday night going off all around me but wasn’t able to get the energy to go explore. Zach Deputy played an unscheduled show on top of his U-Haul in the early morning hours in the vending area. I could hear him but still couldn’t find the motivation to wander. We lounged by the blessing of the fire for a while longer and finally surrendered to the exhaustion with madness ensuing all around.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Late Night Jam: DJ Logic

Pop Rewind: Yellow Submarine (Animated Film, 1968)

Words By Greg Molitor

“Yellow Submarine”, a British animated feature film based on the music of The Beatles, was a box-office smash when it was originally released in 1968. The film catered to many of the loving ideals of the 60’s generation while setting a creative precedent for animation and music videos for years to come. At first, the fab four wasn’t fond of the idea of an animated film featuring their music. The band did not enjoy working on their previous film, “Help!”, and was less than enthused after the failings of the television special “Magical Mystery Tour”, but the Beatles, needing another film to complete its three-film obligation to United Artists, saw “Yellow Submarine” as a fine opportunity to fulfill their contract with the studio. Although the band wasn’t excited to participate in the film’s creation, John, Paul, George, and Ringo have each been quoted as saying they truly loved and enjoyed the final product. Who doesn’t like cartoons anyway?

Check out the videos below as we have provided some clips from the animated film as well as an original trailer for the movie. Take a few minutes to look back and remember the days when pop culture was completely immersed in idealist psychedelic art. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday Bluegrass: Peter Rowan on NPR

Words By J-man

Typically for our "Sunday Bluegrass" I select a good show from the Archive. But as I drove through the night last night from Michigan to Colorado, I heard a great interview with Peter Rowan and Terry Gross on "Fresh Air". Peter told some great stories about Bill Monroe, Jerry Garcia and played some great live songs in studio.

The Fresh Air Interview: Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band <--- Direct NPR Audio Link

Enjoy! ... And as always: Thank you NPR!


Friday, November 26, 2010

Saturday Dead: Zimmer's Picks

Words By Andy Zimmer

I thought that I would throw another classic Dead sit-in into the mix. Undoubtedly, saxophonist Branford Marsalis was consistently one of the finest guests to ever grace the stage with the Dead. Although many fans feel that, by the 90’s, most of the band’s best days were behind them, the Dead proved that they still had a few tricks up their sleeve and lots of quality music to churn out. This show, from March of 1990, is a classic example of the latter-day Dead. Jerry sounds exceptionally vibrant, and the rest of the band clearly feeds off of his energy. The collaborations with Marsalis are the icing on the cake. Make sure to give the versions of “Bird Song” and “Eyes of the World” a good listen.

Grateful Dead Live at Nassau Coliseum on March 29, 1990. <--- Direct Archive Link

Jack Straw, Bertha, We Can Run But We Can't Hide, Ramble On Rose, When I Paint My Masterpiece, Bird Song*, Promised Land* Eyes Of The World-> Estimated Prophet-> Dark Star-> Drums-> Dark Star-> The Wheel-> Throwing Stones-> Turn On Your Love Light, E: Knockin' On Heaven's Door

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Bear Creek: Friday

Words & Photos By Joe Davidson & Amy Pania

Friday Review 11.12.2010

I woke up to Friday morning realizing that I couldn’t fight off what turned out to be an abscessed tooth. Luckily my friend, a local, hooked up a brief visit to the dentist to get some antibiotics and some pain killers so I could make it through the weekend. After I made it back to the venue I booked it over catch the tail end of the second set of the weekend from John Brown’s Body.

John Brown’s Body played an afternoon set on the porch stage. Promising another look the day before, the band delivered. It’s very easy for reggae bands to be monotonous, but not this one. Most reggae I’ve listened to is lead by an arsenal of percussionist, but JBB draws focus from every member. The horn section was a crucial element to the band’s sound playing more of a rhythm part than an occasional accent.

I noticed a large crowd had already assembled in the amphitheater as I walked down to the stage in anticipation for the second Toubab Krewe set of the weekend. TBK has become one of my favorite acts out on the circuit with their unique blend of percussion, jam, and soul they give during every song. TBK’s Friday evening set began with an introduction of continuous drumming for well-over five minutes. TBK announced “This is the best music park in the country!” The crowd “wooed” in unison and the consensus was apparent.

The orange and red glow of their lights symbolized a tribal dance party as bodies swayed and heads bopped. As I migrated to the VIP tent directly across from the Amphitheater and the early evening dusk disappeared into the night’s darkness, it was obvious they were setting the mood for the remainder of the night.

I’ve heard much about Everyone Orchestra in the past couple years and was very excited to see it in person. Matt Butler had such a great presence on stage, like he belonged there. I had never seen anything like it: a host of diverse musicians brought together by one man who conducted each song. Artist for this set included Garaj Mahal, members of Toubab Krewe, Jeff Mosier, Jen Hartwick, Kofi Burbridge, and others.

Shortly into the second song Butler held up a sign that simply said “E.” The group started slowly trying to figure out what exactly to do and suddenly meshed together perfectly. Butler would single out musicians calling for a solo or to speed up or slow down the tempo. Towards the end of the same song he started to write messages for the crowd incorporating them into the show; I’ve never seen crowd participation to this degree before, amazing.

Perpetual Groove opened up their weekend with a set at the amphitheater. P Groove played a solid set including a cover of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” which had the fans jumping around with arms up, literally everyone was singing along. They progressed into a lengthy, powerful, twenty-minute jam.

Halfway through the set we headed up to camp to get some dinner. We could hear the set just fine from camp as they were still on the same jam. We wandered back up to the stage area in anticipation for a set from Zach Deputy.

Zach Deputy started his weekend with a night time performance on the porch stage. I’ve been watching him grow over the past year and I was so happy to see that the stage area filled up just before he took the stage. I’ve never seen so many people at that stage before, at any of the Suwannee festivals. Zach stepped up and threw down the best set I’ve ever seen him play. Song after song he was feeding off the crowd and throwing it right back.

We walked over to find a nice place to sit down and take a load off and watched a few more songs of the spectacular set. The crowd continued to dance away all the way up to the end of the set, very impressive considering there were five other stages going.

While heading over to the tent stage we ran into a friend who informed us that Soulive and Umprey’s switched stages, so we headed for the amphitheater to catch Soulive. I walked up to the photo pit trying to secure a good spot and waited and waited. Ten minutes later the band to the stage and started to groove immediately.

With a jazzy foundation laid down by the keys and the drums, the guitarist was free to run up and down the fretboard. I was very impressed by this group. They are one of those bands who make a lot of sound with just three members, as if there were a large group on stage.

Umprey’s opened with “1348,” an indication that they would not disappoint! Their characteristic heavy metal/jam sound that typically drives their fans nuts as was evident with the screams, chants, heads bouncing all over, and an arsenal of hoopers to the side of the stage.

The guitar work of Brendan and Jake worked so well together. Roosevelt Collier added his incredible steel guitar skills on “Women Wine and Song” combined with Joel Cummins on keyboard—the sound that stood out the most during the song. After completing an intricate heavy guitar jam, Brenden, the bass player said, “Got to love it when it works out like that.”

The band then broke into “Barracuda,” a Heart cover featuring Jen Hartswick of the Trey Anastasio Band on vocals. The combination of her powerful vocals with guitar made this cover more enjoyable than the original.

The set closed out with “Hangover” featuring Chali 2na of Jurassic 5 on vocals. “Fucking love all of ya’ll,” said Brenden just before he left the stage.

The New Mastersounds played their first set in the tent closing out the day of music. This is another band that I didn’t know much about before the festival. After a short delay working out sound issues the band got right to it. I was pleasantly surprised to hear what was coming from the stage, a good rock and roll band. The front man was the first to catch my eye; he was having more fun than the crowd was.

I caught myself watching more than taking pictures while I had my three songs to take photos, I couldn’t help it. The communication between the band was incredible. As soon as a song was ending they would just look at each other and would seamlessly break into another, a new song with a completely different rhythm. After a couple of straight rock songs they broke into a few “jam” tracks. The front man’s energy was spreading around the stage and halfway through the set the entire band was all smiles and having a blast. With a couple of songs to go the group was joined by Roosevelt Collier from The Lee Boys on his new stand lap steel guitar. The sound blended perfectly.

After a couple jams Roosevelt headed off stage, the band played their finale and the night came to end for us. We headed off to the warmth of the fire and passed out.


Thursday Jazz: 4 of Us

Today's Jazz pick features a "super-group" of artists that crossover from the jazz scene to the jamband scene. On drums, and driving the project is Galactic drummer Stanton Moore. His playing with Galactic is solid and prominent, however I much prefer Stanton's jazz projects. This group of players provide a much more challenging environment, and encourages Stanton to step up his game. On Keys, Robert Walter. Robert has become one of my favorite organ players on the scene. His heavy and technical playing are a great addition to this project. Will Bernard features some great jazz guitar playing on this project. His loose yet calculated playing push the groove to a higher level and break it down when necessary. Lastly, bass player Rob Mercurio. Rob plays with Galactic and can hold his own, though I feel his playing could be easily replicated or covered.

This recording captures a really special evening and a special project. When this group of friends/peers get together, destruction is inevitable...

Stanton Moore Live at Fox Theater (4ofUs) on December 2, 2005. <--- Direct Archive Link

4 of Us is:

Stanton Moore (drums)
Robert Walter (keys)
Will Bernard (guitar)
Robert Mercurio (bass)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bear Creek: Pre-Party Wed. & Thurs.

Words & Photos By Amy Castaldo & Joe Davidson

Wednesday 11.10.10 & Thursday 11.11.10

My anticipation grew as we packed the car and headed up for Suwannee. I’ve been attending shows at the park for seven years and I have never been as excited as I was for Bear Creek 2010. We made it to the front gate just after the sun set, got our credentials, and made our way in. After scoping out the Music Hall we decided to go set-up camp before the music started.

Once we were set-up we walked up to the music hall in anticipation for the opening set from Aquaphonics. I was very excited to see them on the bill. They have been working very hard the last couple years to make a name for themselves and have been steadily moving forward. The band seemed a little tense during the first couple songs, but as more and more people filed in they let go and threw down a great set.

The combination of Alan on keys, Jessiah on drums and Jim on bass is excellent. They all work perfectly in unison to create a funky ass backbone for Steve to step up and play lead parts and solos on his guitar. Towards the end of the set I could tell that these guys were really having fun on stage; they were beaming. I hope to see this band on more festival line ups in the future. No matter what musical style you are into, they will get you caught in their groove.

Following Aquaphonics was Honey Island Swamp Band. Paul Levine, Bear Creek Promoter, stepped on stage to introduce the band. He took a few minutes to tell the crowd that this festival has deep roots in the New Orleans music scene and introduced them as the first band of the weekend from the great city.

I enjoyed the band but the sound was way too loud to the point where it wasn’t enjoyable. We wandered outside, listening until the next band started.

The next set was from a group named Zoogma. I had never heard of them before and didn’t know what to expect. Wow! These guys are intense. Most of the songs started off slow and ambient and built up to amazing breakdowns. Some songs were a constant climax building upon itself. The high point of the set was when they were joined by a friend playing saxophone, it worked perfectly with the sound they have.

I really don’t have a clue as to how I would describe the band in terms on genre, but electronic is the first thing that comes to mind. In addition to the arsenal of keyboards and synthesizers, the group also creates live jams with a drummer, bassist, and guitarist. This act is incredible.

The final set of the Wednesday night pre party was by The Heavy Pets. I was really impressed with the two guitar players. They were both very solid, especially in the fact that they weren’t cluttering up the songs, but working together perfectly. They got the crowd going early with a fast jam led by the guitars.

We watched a couple more songs and took off for camp. I wanted to watch the rest of the set but my legs had other plans and I knew I would see them the next day. We made our way back to camp and crashed.

Thursday greeted me with a sharp cold. I ran out and threw some logs on the fire and thawed out. I made some breakfast and hung out with all my friends we were camping with. Amy and I walked around the campground, checking out vendors and looking for familiar faces when we stumbled on the campground stage. I was so happy to see this, a stage right in the heart of the camping area, just past the lake. In addition to the stage, there was a mini-vendor row set-up alongside of the stage which gave a sense of just how big this festival is. We walked back to the main venue area and found a shady spot to sit down until the first set of the day: Lubriphonic.

Lubriphonic was the first set held in the Purple Hat Tent. At first I was a little thrown off as to why they would set up such a grand shelter until the frigid cold of the nights set in. The tent was an oasis of warmth throughout the weekend; a true blessing. Lubriphonic is a Chicago-based band with a strong blues and funk influence.

When I walked in the bass player was in the middle of a ridiculous solo, very impressive. The rest of the band took a turn with a solo and all went back to their funky melody. I stayed for a few more songs and headed up to camp.

I walked back to the tent to see one of my favorite acts setting up, Toubab Krewe. TBK creates a blend of traditional West-African music and good old fashioned rock. There is no need for lyrics: everything that needs to be said is done so through their ability to move people. The result is a sound that allows you to lose yourself in the rhythm. The set was incredible. I was running back and forth in the photo pit trying to capture it all.

After getting some shots I stood at the back of the tent and watched the crowd’s reaction, one of my favorite aspects of live music. With a fast paced tempo throughout the set, the crowd was jumping and dancing nonstop, it made me tired just observing.

We headed on back to camp to cook up some dinner and relax for a bit. After our brief rest we headed up to the Music Hall Stage to see John Brown’s Body. During the walk up I could feel the vibe growing stronger and stronger. Every hour that passed brought in more people screaming from their cars in the excitement of finally being there, and more smiling faces around the venue. We caught the last few songs of Zoogma while John Brown’s Body was setting up. Once again they came with a powerful sound leaving nothing behind.

I could immediately feel the soul of John Brown’s Body lead man Elliot Martin when he took the stage. He had a great band backing him that allowed him to roam around the stage pouring his heart out.

It was a breath of fresh air to me, witnessing true soul rather than just stage presence. We stayed for a few songs and made our way over to the tent to see the first set from Umphrey’s McGee.

I could feel the crowd’s excitement building up as I walked through the entrance of the tent. I walked up to the photo pit and got myself ready. The tent featured DJ sets in-between band sets, which is good for the atmosphere, but bad when you have to stand next to a stack of speakers taller than you blasting bass that even earplugs can’t protect against. Umphrey’s started the set fast with a powerful guitar-driven intro song and continued strong.

After our three song limit in the photo pit we headed for camp to sit next to the fire. UM had a one hour set, a break, and another set. I planned on going back for the second set but woke up after it had already started, both of us passed out next to the fire. I tried to get the motivation but couldn’t gather it. I decided to stay at camp because I could hear the stage just fine. After a song break and the roar of the crowd settling down I heard the intro to “Shine On You Crazy Diamond.” It sounded just like the recording so I figured someone was playing it in the camp area. Again and again it swept through and I finally realized that it was coming from the stage. The rest of the band kicked in and it sounded flawless. Every tone, every transition, everything. Amazing. After listening for a while we headed into the tent to call it a night. I laid there in awe and exhausted and thought to myself: the show doesn’t even start until tomorrow.