Monday, February 28, 2011

Electronic Spotlight: March Madness

Words by Stevie Tee

It’s that time of year when electronic music fans start their yearly crawl out of darkened night clubs and warehouses to enjoy Spring’s emergence coupled with all of the dance music that the world has to offer. Yes, it’s March Madness, and I’m not talking about college hoops. Transpiring this month are Winter Music Conference and Ultra Music Festival as well as the emergence of tour dates and summer festival lineups that will set the music lover’s schedule for the rest of the summer. This is a controversial year for both WMC and UMF as the two events that used to run in tandem are now separated by more than two weeks. For the next month, we will be spotlighting different artists that will be turning up the heat in Miami, so let’s take a closer look at both festivals...

Winter Music Conference

Now in its 26th consecutive year, Winter Music Conference is a week-long marathon of music. The clubs in Miami will be stacked with heavy-hitting line ups all week, not to mention shows at mansions, beaches and pool parties. Aside from a flowing rave scene, the event earns the title of a conference by staging workshops and seminars during the week. While this is a perfect destination for electronic music fans, WMC is also a highly regarded networking opportunity for producers, DJs, promoters, record distributors, software/hardware companies and other industry folks. This year’s separation of WMC from UMF seems to be making WMC more of an insider event, while UMF seems to be the high-profile concert destination.

Ultra Music Festival


Ultra started as a single-day outdoor festival to cap-off WMC back in 1999. Since its inception, Ultra has grown along with the American music festival circuit and has clearly distinguished itself as the Lollapalooza of electronic music. Many electronic music fans today yearn for a trip to UMF without knowledge its origins with the WMC. With all of that in mind, it’s no wonder that questions and controversy arose when Ultra announced that this year it would be held on a separate weekend from WMC and would be expanding to a third day of music for the first year. With names like Tiesto, Chemical Brothers, Duran Duran and Underworld topping the stacked lineup, this is an electronic music festival with a magnitude unmatched in the United States. Don’t worry about grabbing a last minute ticket for this year’s festival because they are completely sold out. Much like WMC, Ultra is throwing its own pre-parties the week prior and after-parties throughout the the week of the festival.


Editorial note: I’m not quite in the know on this one and there are differing opinions about what happened this year with the scheduling change. WMC and UMF have regularly been held during the last week/weekend of March and as such Ultra was scheduled for the last weekend of March. WMC actually made the announcement this past November that it would be held earlier in the month for the first time. However, Bill Kelly, co-founder of WMC, had this to say, “We had an agreement with Ultra whereby Ultra would present its event during the WMC dates. They broke away from the agreement last minute. That being said, there are many positive developments that have resulted from Ultra’s decision to split with WMC. While there was a sort of synergy between us, they are two very different events with different objectives.”

Click here for the full article regarding WMC vs. UMF...

Many still disagree with Kelly calling the move “reckless” to the survival of the conference. I don’t think it’s a good move for either party. Ultra Music Festival’s lineup, after-parties and other events suffer from losing the legitimate industry conference and Winter Music Conference will not attract the same kind of attention as it did with Ultra capping the weekend. I’d like to see these events placed back together next year.

Jamband Spotlight: First-Year Favorites

Words and Photos by Greg Molitor (ReMIND Photography)

Hey friends!

My past year with MusicMarauders has been quite the trip. New faces, new destinations, new experiences, new dreams... my life has been joyously filled with them over the past twelve months. With MusicMarauders, my continual goal is to inspire and share the passion and inspiration I’ve felt from the jamband scene over the past eight years. This endeavor has been more satisfying than I ever thought possible as my excitement for MusicMarauders, living life, and music as a whole has never been greater than it is currently. I am blessed to be where I am today.

Before I springboard headfirst into covering this year’s festival season, I want to share with you a bit of the magic that has made MusicMarauders so special for me. For this week’s Jamband Spotlight, I’m highlighting some of my favorite festivals and sets from the website’s first year. It’s been an amazing ride and will continue to be for many years to come. Thank you, everyone. You truly inspire me to be the eyes of the world...

Favorite Festival - All Good Music Festival 2010


All Good Music Festival 2010 marked the ten-year anniversary of the West Virginia mountain throwdown, and I can’t imagine myself having a better time than I did this annual jam-centric festival. For a festival of its size (30,000+ attendees in 2010), the festival runs smoother than any other I’ve attended. The atmosphere was laid-back, the lineup of artists was phenomenal, and the setup of the festival grounds is perfect. I especially appreciated the element of no-overlapping sets of music. Both main stages were positioned adjacent to one other for set tradeoffs so after a set’s end, the crowd could stay in its location and simply turn towards the other stage for more music. As a guy who does too much running around at festivals trying to cover as many shows as possible, the economy of motion brought me welcomed relief and relaxation.



I highly recommend this festival to anyone who has never been. Make sure to tell your friends as well because camping with many good friends makes a festival much more enjoyable. I camped with a large crew that required every bit of the four canopies we brought; many laughs and smiles were shared throughout the entire weekend and I’ll always have fond memories of my time with the amazing people that surrounded me. This year’s lineup features many heavy-hitters in the jam scene and deserves a serious look for those who want to try something new this year...West Virginia sure knows how to throw one helluva party and I suggest you check it out!

www.allgoodfestival.com

Greg’s photos from All Good Music Festival 2010

Runner-up - Hoxeyville Music Festival 2010

www.hoxeyville.com

Review of Hoxeyville 2010 (Friday)

Review of Hoxeyville 2010 (Saturday)

Review of Hoxeyville 2010 (Sunday)

Favorite Festival Set:


From my experience, moe.’s night sets at Summer Camp Music Festival in Illinois have always been otherworldly. Its sets at Summer Camp 2010 were no exception as Saturday’s whopper of a performance was my favorite of any festival I attended in 2010. On Saturday, moe. brought the funk early and often as the band led with an old-school “Akimbo” and never looked back. Momentous grooves from “Sensory Deprivation Bank” and “McBain” led me down paths of exploration, lifted me beyond points previously unimagined and created powerful moments of tension that repeatedly resolved into an animalistic energy. As I screamed for more, it became apparently that moe. was conjuring a seductive spirit with its music that I had not heard them channel previously.


The second set was a musical experience that only moe. could create...undoubtedly one of the best I’ve heard from the band live or recorded. The band’s jam during “Buster” exemplifies why I listen to improvisational music. Intensely captivating, guitarist Chuck Garvey was in no hurry to rush his fingers up the fret board during his extended solo. He instead took his time building a gorgeous melodic theme that allowed the band to fill space and push the musical phrases to their affective peak. It was the perfect jam, and I’ll remember the performance for as long as my mind lets me.

www.summercampfestival.com

moe. Live at Summer Camp Festival, Moonshine Stage on May 29, 2010.

Runners-up:

Garage A Trois Live at All Good Festival on July 10, 2010.

Steve Kimock Crazy Engine Live at Hoxeyville Music Festival on August 20, 2010.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Bluegrass: Man of Constant Sorrow



Words By J-man

When you hear the strength of the opening instrumentation of "Man of Constant Sorrow", one can not help but to picture O Brother Where Art Thou's "Soggy Bottom Boys" (George Clooney, John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson) singing into a can in an old southern studio. The powerful voice behind George Clooney's character was Union Station's Dan Tyminski. Dan's flawless/powerful lead vocals in that specific track brought great attention to the bluegrass/string genre and inspired a tour featuring Ralph Stanley, Emmylou Harris, Allison Kraus & Union Station and more.

Enjoy The above Youtube clip from the Cohen Brothers' "O Brother Where Art Thou" as well as the clip below of Dan Tyminski and Ron Block doing a live version at the Crossroads Festival. If you haven't seen the movie, it's very entertaining and provides an amazing soundtrack.

Enjoy!

www.dantyminski.com

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday Dead (Zimmer's Picks): 2.25.66


Grateful Dead Live at Ivar Theater on February 25, 1966. <--- Direct Archive Link



She's On The Road Again, Next Time You See Me, I Know You Rider, Hey Little One, Cold Rain & Snow, King Bee, Caution, Stealin'

Words By Andy Zimmer

Sometimes it’s nice to feel spoiled. When I spend time perusing the thousands of Grateful Dead concert sources available on the web, and elsewhere, it really hit home how musically-spoiled I really am. What other band out there has such an extensively documented history, and so many archived performances to choose from? Truly, we have been blessed with a unbelievable resource... and it makes my “job” pretty damn easy, and a helluva lot of fun.

Today is my birthday and, while I’m not really into self-promoting behavior or flashy celebrations, I decided to dedicate this installment of my Dead Picks to... well, me. While the exact date of the proceeding show has largely been lost to history, several sources have placed it on the 25th of February, 1966. At the time, I was just a glimmer in my mother’s eye and the Dead were a young, up-and-coming band from San Francisco. For such an early show, this performance has superb sound quality, and fantastic takes on songs that would eventually become staples of the Dead’s live repertoire.

Furthermore, the listener can really pick up on the folksy, jug band roots of the Dead’s sound and see how that was beginning to mesh with elements of blues, rock, and the earliest traces of psychedelia. I particularly enjoy the takes on “She’s on the Road Again”, ”Hey Little One”, and ”Cold Rain and Snow”. I hope you join me in my birthday celebration with this nugget of vintage Dead.

www.dead.net

Friday, February 25, 2011

Funky Five: Unexpected Covers

Words By Andy DeVilbiss

All Good Festival announced its line-up this week, and Furthur got a headlining slot. Meh. Lots of other good stuff on the bill, but Furthur's not my bag. At least they're not the Dark Star Orchestra. I don't like the Dark Star Orchestra. Some reasons are weather related. It seemed like DSO brought the rain out whenever they played a festival I was attending. It happened enough that we began calling them the Dark Cloud Orchestra.

The rest of the reasons can be summed up quickly. They're a cover band. They have a great gimmick and talent, but they're still a cover band. I generally do not dig cover bands. It takes two midget KISS tribute acts feuding with each other to pique my interest. Yes, that actually happened, and, yes, I wish it had been violently and hilariously settled in the Wrestlemania ring.

But a well done and unexpected cover song? Good gawd, king! It's like someone bust out a pygmy piledriver. It's a move that makes the fans cheer and hoot and leaves an impression. Here's five that have made an impression on me like a top-rope elbowdrop from Mini Gene Simmons.

1. The Apples - "Killing In The Name"



Yeah, I'll give it up for the "Harpua" sammich Phish cover on Independence Day. It was well done, but this is just wicked. It's understandable for a mostly instrumental band to cover a Rage Against The Machine song without a vocalist. It's entirely more ballsy to do so without a guitarist. Even more badass to do it with an unexpected line-up of drums, upright bass, two turntables, and a bunch of horns. Then it takes ballsy badassery to do all that while making it funky without being cheesy. The Apples may be my favorite musical discovery of the past year, and this was the song that got me into the orchard.

2. ulu - "Super Mario Brothers"



Screw silence. A moment of righteous funky noise for the dear, departed ulu. I was a fan from the first time I saw them perform this Nintendo classic. I will always remember their sweaty Thursday night set at the All Good Festival that was held at Sunshine Daydream in West Virginny. A little historical aside... That was the last All Good held in May because it snowed to the point they had to truck in socks to prevent wookie frostbite. On one hand, for May and even for the area, it was cold enough to make you crawl into a tauntaun. On the other, Luke Skywalker remembered to pack socks and shoes.

3. Lefties Soul Connection - "Organ Donor"



A cover of a DJ Shadow song? You're sure that's not backwards? Really? Ok then... My sources have informed me this is not Bizarro World. I was familiar with this version, but it wasn't the version I hoped to find. Another band from the dearly departed file, Addison Groove Project, also covered this tune routinely, though theirs was a cover of the single.

4. Cookin' On 3 Burners - "Cars"



Guitarist Lance Ferguson knows The Funk. When he's not busy strumming for the Bamboos or Cookin' On 3 Burners, he's spinning records as Lanu. A keen musical mind like that knows nothing screams The Funk like... 80's new wave and electronic icon Gary Numan? It works. Especially while driving, so watch it, leadfoot. I also recommend C3B's cover of the Gorillaz' "Feel Good Inc." and really just any of their work in general.

5. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)"



You're out of your element, Kenny Rogers & The First Edition! The random Soul Train dancers really tie the video together, and Sharon Jones absolutely kills it to the point where she oughta be wearing Maude Lebowski's viking get-up like a funky diva. And if you disagree with me, well that's just like, your opinion, man.

Five highflyers bringin' rage in the cage! It's Friday Funk, people. Fun is key, so keep it funky. I'll be seeing Orgone and Dumpstaphunk tonight, two bands who know how to bust out a cover. Rage responsibly. Don't drink and piledrive.

MusicMarauders: A Year in Review


A Letter From The Editor

This first year has been a wild ride indeed. When we started developing the initial concept of MusicMarauders it was nothing more than myself and our jazz columnist Zach Zeidner posting music links to a blog-style site. There was limited "commitment" to say the least. Here we are a year and a half later... Things have changed quite a bit. I'm not going to claim that we are professionals, but we've definitely got our shit together. We're extremely proud of all that we have accomplished in our first year. Regardless of the challenges, criticism and massive amount of work that goes into our publication, 2011 will see MusicMarauders elevated to a new level.

It's been one year since we registered the domain MusicMarauders.com and in our first year we have gone national, providing coverage from coast to coast. We've covered countless festivals, shows, and have conducted more interviews and provided more creative/honest reviews than any other publication relevant to to the live music/jamband/festival scene. Our team has grown by leaps and bounds and continues to grow almost daily. Our honesty, coupled with our dedication and knowledge of the scene has helped to bring MusicMarauders to the forefront of the live music scene.

On a personal level, I am thrilled with where MusicMarauders is after one year. We are now, where I thought we would be in three to five years. For that, we are grateful for the support of our readers, the musicians, promoters, but most importantly: our friends, families and significant others. For without their constant support and love, we would not be here today to share our passion of music with others. I remember sitting in my apartment in Upstate, NY talking to my mother about how excited I was that I booked a single interview. She said to me then "This is going to be a big deal..." That's of course what mother's say, but I knew deep down that I had the full support of her and my father. When I look back on this past year I can see the exponential rate at which MusicMarauders has grown.

There is one person that I would like to thank specifically. This person has always been supportive, even if not present, though now his presence is prominent and so essential in the MusicMarauders mix; our co-editor, Greg Molitor. His passion, knowledge of music, writing and photographic abilities continue to inspire me everyday.



Some highlights from this previous year for me, include interviewing a handful of my musical idols such as Del McCoury, Bernie Worrell, DJ Logic, George Porter & Sam Bush. As well I have been privileged to work along side Bernie Worrell, Tim Carbone, DJ Logic, Headtronics, Pete Wall & WhiteWater Ramble on other various projects and promotions. I also attended a record amount of concerts and festivals from what I have done in previous years. It's been exciting, exhausting, humbling and I've learned a lot.

Now, I'm not going to say we were the first to do what we do. In fact, there were several sites/publications before us and we respect all that they have done in their efforts to help expose and bring publicity to this scene of our's. Contrary to some of the feedback I have received from some of these other publications, I feel that we are all on the same team. I challenge folks/organizations who are being critical of others to use that passion to benefit the scene. I'm not saying don't be critical, but if you're not happy with the way something is going, get involved and change it. We are all about constructive criticism and folks bringing new music or concepts to the table.

In regards to working with MusicMarauders; we are not a business... as of yet. Therefore we have no money and operate solely on our passion for live music. For those who are interested in getting involved, whether writing a weekly column or covering one or two shows at your leisure, send us an email at musicmarauders@yahoo.com and let us know what you're in to. We will do our best in arranging credentials, photo passes, etc. All we ask from you is honesty, quality and timeliness.

We can't tell you what the future of MusicMarauders holds. We will eventually register as a business and take this operation on the road. We are exploring the possibility of managing musicians and expanding our network of writers, photographers, venues and promoters. In the immediate future we are looking into switching over the layout of the site to be more functional and user-friendly. We hope you continue to enjoy MusicMarauders and if you dig what we do, please tell your friends about us.

We'll see you on the scene,

-J-man


MusicMarauders on FaceBook

MusicMarauders on Twitter

MusicMarauders on Youtube

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thursday Jazz: Snarky Puppy



Words By Zach Zeidner

Tell Your Friends

It’s very rare you come across a band these days in the contemporary music scene that captures the sheer reminiscence of a yesteryear in music where everything seemingly was perfect. In other words, it’s not quite often you come across a band that so precisely taps into the avenues of the music of the sixties and seventies while at the same time maintaining the ability to remain innovative in a consistently evolving music scene. Snarky Puppy is a Brooklyn-based funk-rock instrumental fusion band that originates from Denton, Texas where the members met and formed the band at the University of North Texas. The band has about thirty interchanging members that depend on where in the country the band is touring at the time and who has what availability. The members include Michael League, Mark Lettieri, Bob Lanzetti, Justin Stanton, Shaun Martin, Bill Laurance, Chris McQueen, Robert "Sput" Searight, Nate Werth, Mike Maher, Jay Jennings, Chris Bullock, Ian Rapien, and Zack Brock as well as others. This band has been around since 2004 and has consistently been turning heads. The members of Snarky Puppy have the professional chops of standard jazz musicians, whilst at the same time incorporating the innovative mentality of the fusion movement into an ultimately danceable instrumental funk rock collective. With extremely rhythmic songs and funky horn arrangements that explore the centrifugal abilities of funk compositions, the band can drive a funky dance tune into an elaborate modal jam complete with tempo challenging solos and spacious tone experimentation.



Their newest album which came out in 2010 entitled Tell Your Friends does not disappoint the least bit. The album is consistent with their other albums except that Tell Your Friends includes some live tracks that give you a little sample of what they have to offer in a live setting. The album is full of lavish compositions that truly demonstrate the unique talent this young group of musicians have to offer. The album is intricate yet danceable, tactile yet elusively complex, as well as heavy and flowing at the same time. At points during this album you’ll have to check who it is because it’ll sound like you’ve stumbled across some lost Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters album. Get lost in a world of translucent experience which is the Snarky Puppy and look for them on their upcoming Spring Tour, they are sure not to disappoint.

Purchase Snarky Puppy's Album "Tell Your Friends" on Amazon

www.snarkypuppy.com



Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Larry Keel & Natural Bridge 2.11.11


Cosmic Charlie's
Lexington, KY

Words By Burk Fuqua
Photos By Rex Thomson


There is no better way to warm up on a cold February Friday night than to get out and catch some live music in a cozy downtown club. Lexington Kentucky's hippie haven, Cosmic Charlie's, was the place and Larry Keel and Natural Bridge were the headliners. Lexington's music scene was in full effect for the shortest month of the year. With great nationwide acts rolling through town back to back, it was almost like Central Kentucky was treated with a winter music festival to wet our appetite for the coming season.

Taking the stage first was a local trio, cleverly named The Barry Mando Project. The group is comprised of an electric baritone mandolin, along with various bass and percussion instruments. Most of the tunes were original works by mandolin player Danny Williams, however they also play alternative arrangements of songs from a wide range of styles. They have a light and loose Jazz feel to many of the songs, but certainly have the ability to bring it all together for more funky, and solid driving rock numbers. I, as well as most of those in attendance, enjoyed their musical styling's, but clearly we were ready to see fire and fury that was about to be bestowed up on us.

Larry Keel and his bass playing wife Jenny, have teamed up with Will Lee on banjo, and Mark Schimick on mandolin, together they are Natural Bridge. It was quite clear from the onset that Larry had come out to "Keel our face" with his stunningly technical flat-picking. It would be unfair to categorize this group as Bluegrass, after all how many Bluegrass bands do you know that fill the middle of their set with a very lengthy and dynamic "Jungle" by Grandmaster Flash. No, despite the types of instruments in hand, there is no defining the sound that Natural Bridge brings to the stage.

Since leaving the world of flat-picking competitions Larry has joined up with he likes of Keller Williams, String Cheese, and YMSB just to name a few. With his low rumbling voice and almost super-human chops, Larry has found a home on stages big and small, blending in with open strings as well as more plugged in psychedelic sound. Listening to them play, there is no doubt that there are roots that grow deep in the Appalachian mountains. With their own twist on traditionals, Natural Bridge harmonizes about corn liquor, living in the hills, and growing your own. Larry even takes time out for a public service announcement, when he poses a question in song, "How can it be wrong if it grows wild?"

Though Larry could easily stand alone and wow any crowd, as he proved in his solo encore, there is no doubt that his tremendous skills as a picker are greatly complimented by the impeccable timing of Jenny on her upright bass. While some bass players tend to lazily thump out the same tired line for seemingly ever song played, Jenny has a wonderful ability to keep up with Larry's speed and precision in a way only a wife could. With quick and tight tempo changes, and cleverly thought out bass lines, the instrument seems to have a voice of its own. Will Lee has his five finger roll down to such a science, that he can stand beside a world champion picker, and trade licks like a heavyweight in the ring. In many bands the banjo does not always receive the most accolades, not to mention the player, but there is no doubt that Lee holds his own in this group.

Mark Schimick on mandolin does a great job balancing out the overall sound with haunting trebles and rhythmic chops. Until the aforementioned 'Jungle", I was unaware of the rightful place of a F5 mandolin in a hip hop song. The blend of such talented musicians, and varied genres of music, made this night one that will be remembered by anyone who was lucky enough to be in attendance. The next time Larry Keel comes near your town with Natural Bridge, or any of his many projects, I highly suggest strapping on your boots and stepping out to see what sort of magic can be made with a few slabs of wood and a hand full of strings.

www.larrykeel.com

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Signal Path & BoomBox in Detroit 2.13.11


A Throw-down in the “D”

Words & Photos By Brandon Picard

I’ll start with this thought: I was unaware of the intensity music lovers could bring to the table on a cold wintery night in Detroit.

With this show on my schedule at least a week ahead of time, I had a chance to really sample some of Signal Path's music. With any artist (if I’m a first-timer) I ALWAYS have an open mind. I enjoy seeing bands for the first time. It allows for me to make judgments I never knew I had. Boombox on the other hand I have seen before, and have tended to dislike their shows. Anyhow, this particular evening I decided to take my wonderful girlfriend Katie along for the ride. Being fairly new to electronic music (having really only been to Rothbury), Katie was skeptical to say the least.

Arriving around 9:30 (on a Sunday) the place was fairly desolate, as to be expected. The Magic Stick is basically a pool hall located next to the much larger “Majestic” venue. Having seen some extremely intimate shows at the Magic Stick in the past, I was excited to see what tonight would bring. A DJ… or shall I say a “team” of DJ’s were set up on the side stage dancing behind there already mastered tracks.

Approaching their booth every so often, in somewhat of a “popcorn” fashion, the DJ’s passed the controls to one another handing their headphones of as they finished (a clear sign to me who was on the table). They rocked some steady club jams as a modest crowd began to fill the room. I made my way around the venue and was happy to see some extracurricular activities going on. A couple booths located near the bar were selling some Detroit made products; this made me happy. Along the back wall of the venue stage center, an artist who I recognized from many other shows, splattered his mural with some aggressive strokes to an unidentifiable painting. On the main stage we could see Signal Path getting prepped for their segment of the evening, so we moseyed on over to get a better view. By now the place was filling up nicely and Signal Path was set to go.

Coming in hard right off the bat, I could see people in the crowd eagerly approaching the stage. With the three members of the band each adding their own twist on the track, I was pleasantly surprised to see so much instrumentation. A steady lead guitar with a bass and drum-kit, on top of some heady electronic jams, Signal Path was clearly on a well-defined course. For me, while attending an unfamiliar show, the first track of a set is extremely important. It sets the tone for the remainder of their slot. Initially, Signal Path reminded me a lot STS9, in the tangy sounds of the electronic keys. As the set continued, my opinion swayed. Signal Path was their own creature, creating sounds of individuality. As the first track came to somewhat of an end, I took a glance behind me to see the crowd of head boppers almost completely filling the decent size floor. People were pumped. The smiles on the faces around me were a distinct sign of the rave I had attended.

The throw-down ensued with intentionally un-ending jigs. I personally really enjoyed the small amounts of lead guitar that were added to the mix. For me, not being much of an electronic fan, I was happy to see the different variations.

By now, the place full. I was surprised to see how young the crowd was. Looking around I noticed seventy five percent of the hands were slashed with an “X”. But that didn’t matter, the party rolled on.

I never once lost interest in what was taking place on stage. Occasionally at shows I find myself spacing out when something that I’m not digging hits the speakers. This was not the case with Signal Path. The upbeat technicalities grabbed my attention from the get, and never let go. I was pleasantly surprised at the mix Signal Path brought on this particular Sunday.

As Signal Path finished up, people were pumped with the enthusiastic set. I was approached by a rather interesting fellow just as the music ended. He was extremely excited about what he saw, and as if I wasn’t there he asked me, “Did you see that BROOOOOW?” I responded with a laughable “No, What happened? I had my eyes closed.” With that, dude was gone and I had a nice laugh.

Boombox was next and crowd was filled with fluffy Kango hat wannabes. The generic sound of Boombox drives me crazy. However, people seem to love it. I came to a conclusion on this particular evening. When Boombox dropped into their first track, I noticed that the volume had been cranked to an inconceivable level. The loudness of the music instantly intensifies the entire situation and people lose control. I found myself asking... why didn’t Signal Path have the volume cranked? Would people have been going this nuts? I didn’t get an answer.



Having seen Boombox before I knew what I was in for; an infinitely long song that changes ever so slightly throughout. I could tell my girlfriend was digging it as she moved to the beat smiling from ear to ear. Not wanting to ruin her first experience, I decided it was best to keep my mouth shut and let her make her own conclusions. She seemed to be enjoying it. For me, it was just another simplistic set, with a pouting vocalist not helping the situation. But like I said before, people love Boombox. After about an hour of what I thought was the song they had started the set with, I had had enough. In leaving, I asked Katie what she thought. She responded with this… “Just when you think the beat was done dropping, it dropped again. I was cross-eyed.” I laughed my ass off and decided this was an integral part of my review.

For me, Boombox doesn’t do it. For others, it clearly does. I was really excited to see Detroit folks turnout like they did and really represent. I’m happy to be from Detroit.

www.signalpathmusic.com

www.thisisboombox.com

Electronic Spotlight: Soulflex Solid State Lazer w/ Shigeto

Words By Stevie Tee
Photos By Joe Quang


I reached the historic Blind Pig at 9:30 as the show was already well under way. The transformed rock club was dimly lit with colored lights and all sorts of devices designed to capture stares. Soulflex’s resident lighting expert Scott Sutterfield provided the environment that set the perfect mood for this evening of beats and spaced out electronic textures. The entire back wall behind the stage was covered in psychedelic, geometric designs that were provided by Austo Design. Canvases flanked both sides of the stage for live painters Seymor and Mary Maz. Grassroots California, Deepblip Records and the respective artists all had merch tables set up in the crammed hallway just inside the front door of the club. Full show production has been a defining characteristic of Soulflex Entertainment, Cirque Du Womp, Deepblip Records and other related promoters.


K@dog

Grant “K@dog” Jackson has been making a big name for himself after more or less acting as a local ambassador of dubstep in Detroit. Even as recently as 2008, dubstep had remained quite underground in Detroit. Few international dubstep producers/DJs were even able to reach Detroit or land a spot on Movement: Detroit’s Electronic Music Festival. K@dog, with the help of the Cirque Du Womp Crew, brought dubstep to Detroit clubs in a big way and started a local sensation with the Dubstep Circus. This evening was my first chance to see K@dog mixing it up on vinyl. Disappointingly, he’d been playing since 8:30 pm and dropped eight original tracks before I arrived.

K@dog’s use of vinyl controllers allows him to use his laptop to play tracks from his collection of MP3s or Wavs, but control them as though they were spinning on the record. Now K@dog can mix new originals with vinyl without ever having to press a record or dub-plate. It resembled J-Dilla influenced hip hop as K@dog was cutting in a capellas, drum breaks and other tracks in true turntablist fashion. After a few tracks he faded out and dropped into the last part of his set began as deep, dancehall influenced dubstep that teased and eventually led to huge womp tones. It was quite enjoyable to hear the movement of vinyl during Cirque Du Womp’s resident DJ’s set.



Shadow Attack + Jaws That Bite = Shadows That Bite

www.soundcloud.com/shadowattack

www.soundcloud.com/jawsthatbite

The next set of the night was Jaws That Bite and Shadow Attack hybrid. Founders of Deepblip Records and former members of the local livetronica band Inkface & The Digital Dream, they’re now teamed up as individual producers. They played a Live PA set that was similar to dueling DJs going back to back every few songs. However in this case, all tracks played were produced and being played in live mode by Jaws That Bite or Shadow Attack. Both producers were hard at work on their MIDI controllers, drum pads and guitar. Jaws That Bite’s tracks were a glitchy, trip-hop that contrasted well with Shadow Attack’s heavier dubstep and bass influenced hip-hop. If you are a fan of pulled-apart, glitched-out hip-hop beats, this was your set. Through an auditory forest of sounds, blips, and glitches, the tracks and grooves still had a lot of room to breath. The two producers were doing an excellent job of exploring with their mixes but not stepping on one another or having the main tracks or clips get lost in the mix. Aside from the evening’s headliner, this was my favorite set of the night.

Charles Trees & Kadence

www.soundcloud.com/musiquelarge/charles-trees-the-dream-ep-snippet

www.myspace.com/kadencemcasheis

Charles Trees & Kadence’s set stood out for a number of reasons. Many of the undercard artists on the line up tonight spoke very highly of Charles Trees and respected him as a local producer of prominence. Charles Trees appeared on stage first, dropping a couple tracks of his own by himself, then was joined by Ann Arbor MC Kadence for nearly twenty minutes. During Charles’ last track, he welcomed onstage the evening’s headliner Shigeto. Charles Trees’ tracks were also hip-hop influenced but was much more spaceious, floatier, tech-ish hip-hop that was more subtle than the rest. Once he switched from originals to dropping the bed tracks for Kadence, the movement and live feel of the produced tracks was gone. Charles was now playing the bed tracks as is, with only some minor DJ-like mixing at times.


Kadence had a great flow and delivery that was well rehearsed with his backing tracks, but I found myself wishing he was flowing over the type of tracks Charles played. Kadence put these songs together and wanted his live performance to be representative of his recordings, but the presentation of the set drained the momentum. It’s uncertain if Charles Trees produced any of the tracks for Kadence, but working out a more fluid DJ-style delivery could have helped to maintain a higher level of energy. If these two had separate sets or if Kadence started off the set, the performance would have been better. I’d still recommend checking out each artist’s respective work despite these minor criticisms.

Ill.So.Naj & Freddy Todd



While both of these producers had individual sets, they combined their set time and kept things moving along quite nicely. First, Ill So Naj came out and dropped all original tracks from his rig that resembles a rock star command center from the future. While only having a few items, Ill So Naj rocks a gigantic Mac monitor to help him navigate through massive Ableton Live sets, a fairly simple looking drum pad, knob/fader MIDI interface and a home engineered mixing device made out of a Guitar Hero controller. From his setup, it was clear that he is anything but an inside-the-box performer. Ill So Naj’s producing style is a psychedelic hip-hop that conjures up images of J-dilla, Prefuse 73 and many electronic jam bands. With his technical mind that can engineer new performing devices and frequent collaborations with the following producer Freddy Todd, don’t be shocked this if this producer starts making a bigger name for himself in the electronic music community.

By this time, the club was quite crowded, forcing me to miss a good chunk of his twenty minute set after I stepped away for a few mintues. When the two producers switched off, Ill So Naj jumped on the drum kit to play drums along with Freddy’s set. The drums were not properly mic’ed and all you could hear in most of the club was a steady snare beat and the occasional flourish of tom fills. If you got up close enough to the stage you could hear the whole drum kit chiming away in time to Freddy’s pristine set.


Something about this producer’s music makes ladies lose inhibitions and apparently clothes. Suddenly out of nowhere, two females stripped down to underwear and began to dance on stage during Ill So Naj’s and Freddy Todd’s set. One of the girls was dancing around on stage earlier during Shadows That Bite’s set with considerably more clothes on. This was clearly a very planned and orchestrated move, not a random girl from the audience. The stage looked like a suburban gangster rap music video making me wish that the ladies would make themselves useful by mic’ing the tacet drums. While I worried about catching gonorrhea of the eyeball, Freddy threw down a very tight, compact set that justified the whole scene.

Freddy was the only producer of the night dropping hip-hop samples that were clearly recorded for his tracks. He’s been working with many different producers and MCs from all over the US and has been picking up new tricks for samples and tracks. Recently, Freddy collaborated on a drum break with percussionist Chuck Morris from Lotus while gigging in Colorado. Freddy built a track around the break and dropped it for the first time on everyone at the Soulflex show that night. His set was heavier than the last time I saw him but still resembled the same upbeat, club-ready hip hop with lazer synths. The inaudible drums left more to be desired but did little to derail Freddy’s set.

Purchase Freddy Todd’s new double album “Neon Spectacle Operator”

Shigeto



Amidst all the local talent that was showcased in spades, Shigeto is a former Ann Arbor local, who has relocated to Brooklyn and is currently represented by Matthew Dear’s Ghostly International record label. Shigeto had the same drum kit on stage from the previous set but now everything was properly mic’ed and mixed with his computer’s output channel. His setup was fairly simple aside from the drum kit as he rolled with a computer with one large Ableton Live set open and MIDI controllers with drum pads. Even when he would leave his computer and controllers to accompany his tracks on drums, everything was fluid and seamless.

Shigeto’s set was a nice change of pace. While some of the raver crowd was exiting at the mere mention of slower tempos and drum solos, I was digging the more ambient-tech turn. The sound had the funky, polyrhythmic sample swagger like Flying Lotus and J-Dilla, tasteful ambient glitch work like Telefon Tel Aviv and free form jazz drumming breaks a la Steve Reid’s work with Four Tet. A live performance of Shigeto’s remix of “Adrift” was the biggest highlight of the set. An excellent aspect to his performance was his gift of significantly different output as opposed to what can be heard on his album. The tracks remained 100% recognizable yet contained energy that can only be felt in the live musical setting. I highly recommend checking out this one-of-a-kind live set the next time Shigeto rolls into your town. Until then, check out the new album “Full Circle” along with his other EPs and singles featured on the Ghostly International and Moongadget labels.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Jamband Spotlight: Blues Traveler

Words by Greg Molitor (ReMIND Photography)

Longevity is an oft overlooked element when measuring a band’s successes. Many acts have made their millions and slipped away into the dark. Whether they sell out, buy in, or whatever phrase it’s called to help with sleep, there’s no faulting musicians for trying to make money. It is a business, after all. The truly great artists throughout history, however, aren’t in the biz for maximum financial gain. There’s something more to their craft than the bottom line. They realize the importance of longevity, the ability to provide as much to the individuals that appreciate their art for as long as they possibly can.



Blues Traveler is one of these artists. After its fourth album, Four, was released in 1994, the band broke through for huge commercial success. Blues Traveler reached its peak after seven years of relentless touring...the band had finally made it. Consequently, the height of success becomes a crossroads for any band. What do we do now? Are we still the same band as when we began? Thankfully, Blues Traveler took their gains but never lost sight of what it means to perform. The band has played Red Rocks Amphitheater on the Fourth of July every year since 1994 with the exception of 1999...quite an impressive run for a ‘commercial’ act.

I have selected two shows from the archive to showcase Blues Traveler’s energy-filled improvisational blues rock. The first is a performance from 1994 shortly after the band found radio success with its hits “Run Around” and “Hook”. Frontman John Popper’s talents are the always on display during a Blues Traveler show. Whatever it is, he’s got it. The man knows how to channel soul from the depths of experience and it comes through with a old-school vengeance that often is unheard these days. Not only can his vocals shake you down to the core with a single cry, he is arguably the best blues harmonica player in the world.

Blues Traveler Live at Irving Plaza on September 19, 1994. <--- Direct Archive Link



The second offering is a show from April 2007 that features the same old fire the band brought back in the day. Versions of tunes such as “Love and Greed” and “Devil Went Down to Georgia” are smokin’ hot and prove the band hasn’t lost a step in its twenty-four years of existence. The band has persevered. The passing of bassist Bobby Sheenan in 1999, John Popper’s obesity issues, and getting dumped by its record label in 2002 were all obstacles to overcome, and although there was turmoil, the band is still here performing for its fans. The rock and roll lifestyle is difficult as the best find ways to deal with its demons in order to push on for one more. Blues Traveler has conquered these debilitating spirits and has much more to offer us all for hopefully many years to come.

Blues Traveler Live at WorkPlay Sound Stage on April 16, 2007. <--- Direct Archive Link



www.bluestraveler.com

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Bluegrass: String Cheese Incident



Words By Zach Zeidner

String Cheese Incident Live at Telluride Bluegrass Festival on June 20, 1996. <--- Direct Archive Link



Telluride Town Park is one of the most beautiful outdoor venues in the country. Surrounded by mountains in a secluded little town, this venue has always been a favorite of The String Cheese Incident. SCI and Telluride go together like peas in a pod. SCI has always loved playing in Telluride since their days playing in the One World Café, to their debut at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in 1996. Telluride Bluegrass Festival has hosted String Cheese Incident numerous times, but their first appearance was June 20th, 1996. This set demonstrates String Cheese Incident at that vital moment when their music truly began to evolve.

In 1995, SCI added Kyle Hollingsworth to keys and diverted from the tradition bluegrass sound they were going after. After realizing the increased recognition as a result of Kyle’s addition, everything began to happen for the band as their fan base increased throughout the years. This show in telluride exemplifies the Jazzed out Newgrass the String Cheese Incident had to offer.

Throughout this show, the band demonstrates not only their mastery for the bluegrass numbers but as well exemplifies a desire to improvise and go beyond the realms of what can happen in new grass by incorporating subtle aspects of Jazz. Kyle’s Jazz knowledge and love for the major fusion players such as Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, and Keith Jarrett to name a few, allows the music to reach certain velocities of fusion that was once not available to the String Cheese Incident. Listen to this show and enjoy the old sound of a band that is just beginning to evolve.

www.stringcheeseincident.com

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saturday Dead: 10.26.89


Words By Andy Zimmer

Grateful Dead Live at Miami Arena on October 26, 1989. <--- Direct Archive Link



I decided to pick this particular show this week as a counterpoint to anyone who thinks that, after the 60’s and early-70’s, the Dead could never really get into deep, psychedelic, far-out places with their old “jam standards” (Dark Star, Morning Dew, etc.) the October 26th show from Miami Arena was the tour closer from a very strong run in the Fall of ’89. Particularly, the second set really gets me going. Fans of “Blow Away” will really enjoy this exceptional version of Mydland-Dead. However, the “Dark Star”>”Space” segment is the crème de la crème for me. While it may be hard to top the 60’s “Dark Stars” in terms of how they broke open the mold of rock songs and allowed the Dead true freedom to bring in aspects of psychedelia, jazz, and anything else into the mix; the musicianship and jamming on this version are top-notch. The boys truly delve into dark, almost scary, alleys of the human psyche. If you don’t feel like diving off the deep end for a few hours, or are easily frightened, this may not be the show for you. But, for the bold, jump on in... Captain Trips still has a few tricks up his sleeve that he’d like to share with you.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Funk: Funky Five

Bands I’d Love to See at the All Good Music Festival

Words By Andy Devilbiss

The All Good Music Festival will announce its preliminary line-up and open ticket sales on February 22. This festival holds a special place in my heart, as it’s put on by the great Baltimore/DC-area company Walther Productions. I was at the first, and I’ve been at most since. Lately though, the line-ups of the past few years have not exactly inspired me to track my funky booty up to the Mountaintop, especially when I’m guaranteed several days of back pain from hauling camping gear. Sticking strictly to American bands, here’s five funk acts I’d love to see on the bill that would encourage me to make the trip to West Virginny.

1. Orgone



You know I love me some Orgone. Give em a late-night set. They proved they could rock one at moe.down last fall.

Orgone 9.4.10 - moe.down XI

2. Lubriphonic



“The Gig Is On” is getting a lot of play round Casa DeVilbiss, AKA the Funk Shack, but I’ve never seen these guys. Jazzy, bluesy, and dead funky. Giles Corey can SHRED.

3. The Twin Cats



The funky pride of Indianapolis, Indiana. I hear shades of Galactic and the dear, departed Ulu, but the band they most remind me of is an outfit from Texas named Gnappy that put out a few albums between 2000-2006. I highly recommend the Twin Cats debut album “Thick,” and, as you can see from the video above, their chops are just as good in a live setting.

4. Monophonics



How badass are these relative newcomers? Badass enough to get Karl Denson to play on multiple tracks of their latest album, “Into the Infrasounds.” Karl don’t play with chumps. These guys are no chumps. Being from the San Francisco Bay Area, I have yet to see them, but I sure want to.

5. Ugly Duckling



Ugly Duckling is among my favorite hip-hop groups EVER, and I always thought their humor and funky beats would translate well to a jam festival setting, especially since they seem to a bit of an anomaly in a musical genre that is unfortunately all about a tough and big pimpin’ image more times than not. These guys have fun and stick to the true spirit of hip-hop with their incredible DJ, Young Einstein rocking loops in the spirit of the time when, as they say, “laces were phat and Michael Jackson was black.” They’d be perfect for 40-50 minute sidestage or late-night setbreak act.

Umphrey's McGee in Denver 2.11.11


Words, Photos & Videos By J-man

Umphreys McGee Live at The Fillmore on February 11, 2011. <--- Direct Archive Link



Umphrey's Mcgee is one of the top bands on this scene of ours. That being said, folks were really looking forward to that Friday evening's show in Denver. We would be joined by Particle Saxophonist Pete Wall for the evening. We pre-gamed with a bottle of wine and made our way on foot the few blocks to the Fillmore Theater. We grabbed our credentials and made our way to the line that wrapped around the block. On the way to the back of the line, we passed an open door to the theater and could hear the Kyle Hollingsworth Band performing. The line would have taken us forty five minutes to get through, so we made our way to the front of the line. We explained our predicament to a kind security guard and he opened the gate and slid us thorough.

Inside of the Fillmore people were getting excited. We hit a wall of sound upon entering and we were ready to get down. Carly and Pete grabbed drinks as I made my way to the pit, which was already closed. I was able to convince the security guard to let me into the pit for two minutes to get a few shots. The Kyle Hollingsworth Band sounded pretty good. Kyle's key work was consistent as always, Garrett Sayers absolutely destroyed the bass per usual and Logic scratched tastefully over the jams.


I exited the pit following my two minutes and made my way to the soundboard where I found Carly and Pete with beers in hand. Even from next to the sound board, the sound was not good and there were almost no lights being used. The energy was some what lacking until the last jam or two of the opening set, at which point the guitarist broke out and the band really got into it. The set came to a close and I got my gear situated for Umphrey's McGee. As I situated my cameras, the stage was being shuffled around for UM. I stood and talked with Pete and up walked DJ Logic. He hugged Pete and shook my hand. I inquired about an interview, we took a couple of photos and off Logic went to get paid.

Umphrey's hit the stage with force. The audio mix was perfect, the lights were solid and varied in several colors. It was like night and day compared to the production of the Kyle Hollingsworth Band. Umphrey's meant business. The Fillmore was packed and the energy was insane. People were screaming, throwing their hands up and getting down hard. Denver had turned out to rage...

A pre-recorded audio track of horns playing a recognizable march had the crowd in a frenzy as UM dropped into the reggae-sounding "Higgins". Slowly, the groove took off into an extremely progressive jam. The next song on the setlist came in the form of one of my favorites into one of the best overall jam/segues of the evening "All in Time>Conduit>Jimmy Stewart>Conduit" The crowd lost as did I, and began dancing. This was one of those moments that remind me why I love Umphrey's McGee. The energy was almost unfathomable. The transitions were incredible and tight, leading the crowd on a journey through space.

A short version of "End of the Road" came and went leaving us with "Resolution" back into "All in Time" to finish up the earlier open-ended jam. Following a rip-roaring beginning of the show, the band took the opportunity to throw some banter at the crowd.


"See, this is cool. When you throw shit like this at us, it makes us happy... and rejoiceful." Bayliss said holding up a bra.

"So, it's up to you. You can throw other things..." He went on to say.

"We like green things too... Anything green as well..." Jake interrupted.

Next the band went into a cheesy, 80's sounding version of "Peg" that led into the set break. In my opinion, they would have been better served leaving it at "All in Time" for the set closer. Regardless the crowd was pleased and the mad scramble of set break was on. Folks poured in all directions in search of conversation, friends, good times, and substances. We met up with our buddy Spuckes and spoke with Pete about his thoughts on UM thus far, as it was his first show. He was impressed with the music and production as we all were.

The second set began with the fury that is "JaJunk". It was by far one of the most intense songs of the evening, and for them to transition right into "Bright Lights", a clear crowd favorite, was really solid. Jake Cinninger guitar chops and fills mirrored perfection. Umphrey's does not miss notes. What they do is tastefully and tactfully dismantle minds through strong composition and skill. The combination of Brendan Bayliss' and Jake's duel leads had me clutching my face, holding on for dear life.


"Mantis Ghetts" was synth-heavy and danceable. Joel Cummins had really stepped up his playing from the last few times that I saw UM. He impressed me that night in Denver. I looked around and noticed everyone dancing. It was cool to see that large of a crowd at a UM show. The Fillmore is a large venue, and it was packed and moving. They transitioned to "Gulf Stream" and what sounded like a vocal improv about friends, drinking and being together. Every Umphrey's show has a "bro-out" and that night "Gulf Stream" was indeed the bro-out. On the other hand, the instrumentation was heavy. UM does a great job of going through different vibes, creating tension and release as well as nailing the climax. I was, and continue to be more impressed show by show.



"Gulf Stream" transitioned into a dark "Jimmy Stewart", unlike the earlier version. I put my head down and danced my ass of. At this point in the show we were near the soundboard and the crowd in front of us was raging. I've never seen that many people getting down, with their hands in the air, at an indoor show. It was impressive and enjoyable to say the least.

Kris Myers. Kris fucking Myers. Kris is by far one of the best, most consistent and aggressive/driving drummers on the scene. In my opinion, he was one of the key factors in elevating Umphrey's to the level at which they are currently on. That night in Denver Kris destroyed everything.

"Hows it going Denver!?! I'm feelin' good. How are you feeling? Like you want to rage... right... now? Because I want to rage... right.. now." Ryan Stasik stated in a monotone voice.

Following a five minute "Deeper" they went into one of my favorite UM songs, "Hurt Bird Bath" that clocked in around sixteen minutes. The song raged from the get go. Their timing and transitional approach was flawless and fluid. One really noticeable thing about UM that captivates most listeners is their tone. It's impeccable. I was amazed at the variety of tones and sounds that I heard throughout "HBB". Sometimes it's the subtle aspects that really draw you in. As "Hurt Bird Bath" progressed it got heavier and heavier and I loved every minute of it.



They threw some love out to Denver, Colorado and then it happened...

"Would you guys come out to Red Rocks if we played Red Rocks this summer?" asked Waful, UM's light guy, from the booth.

The crowd went absolutely ape-shit...

"... Last year was pretty fun, fourth of July weekend... What do you think about this year? July 3rd maybe? How does that sound?"

Again, the crowd went nuts...

"We'll see you at Red Rocks, July 3rd."

With that announcement they went into a cover of The Who's "Eminence Front". Joel started on the keys/synth...

"Are you guys fucking ready to rage?" Stasik asked the crowd.

"Eminence Front" was awesome. Umphrey's often does covers better than the original band. Now, I'm not suggesting that they played it better than The Who, but they tore it up. The instrumentation was really interesting, and created a great vibe in the Fillmore and that would be the closer.

Immediately following UM walking off of the stage someone began singing "Let's Give Them Something to Talk About" with the crow joining in. The band again took the stage a announced that they would be doing two sets at Red Rocks, because of that night's sold out show at the Fillmore! They plugged Joel's late night show at Quixote's and went into a hard "Plunger>Glory>Plunger".

The ability, stage presence and production of UM far surpasses that of almost any other band on the scene. That February night in Denver, they sold out the Fillmore. The predictions of many are coming to fruition; Umphrey's McGee is taking over. It's been a long time since I have seen the type of reception that I saw for a band that night in Denver. People love Umphrey's McGee... I am one of those people.

J-man's Photo Gallery From The Show


Set One:

Higgins, All In Time > Conduit > "Jimmy Stewart" > Conduit, End of the Road, Resolution > All In Time, Peg

Set Two:

JaJunk > Bright Lights, Mantis Ghetts > Gulf Stream > "Jimmy Stewart", Deeper, Hurt Bird Bath, Eminence Front

Encore:

Plunger > Glory > Plunger

www.kylehollingsworth.com

www.djlogic.com

www.umphreys.com