Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Blastoff Music & Arts Festival: Day Two


Words By Stevie Tee
Photos By Tomas Culver
(89ViSiON Photography) & Joseph Le (Joe Le FOTO)

After midnight, it was time to really let it all hang down. In the coveted post-headlining late night slots were Cirque Du Womp resident DJ K@dog and Ohio’s rising star junglist Sheepdog. Though they were billed on the schedule to have two separate hour-long sets each night after the headliners, they performed together and dropped some of the wildest drum ‘n’ bass, jungle, dubstep and overall heavy bass music. Often informally referred to as Two Stupid Dogs (based on the names K@dog and Sheepdog, referring to a cartoon on Nickelodeon with the same name) these guys really held their own compared to any of the national DJs. Sheepdog’s scratch turntablism elicited a huge crowd response and K@dog’s brand of heavy yet laidback dubstep and bass music helped dip things back into lower tempos so they could build it back up. K@dog even introduced some of his own original material in the set.

When I had a chance to speak with them, they both expressed great fondness in working with one other. Sheepdog described how they hadn’t had much time to work together before these performances, but that they intuitively clicked and had an easy time bouncing tracks off. Anyone reading this who attends Electric Forest will have a chance to see this magic take place in the forest at the stage that Cirque Du Womp will be curating. Unfortunately, the second night my ride was leaving the festival after midnight and I only heard the first couple of tracks from their set just as guitarist Jaws That Bite was joining the stage.

Though the sound ordinance kept amplified music from taking place at the stages after 2:00 AM, it didn’t stop anyone from keeping the music going. Many speaker systems were going all night and some of the DJs even performed in the camping areas. The Galactic Temple was a popular spot to chill, which was lit up with ultraviolet lights and a bright, vibrant artist painting. However, once the music cut out I was ready to get whatever sleep I could to rest up for the next day.

The next day, there was more rain to be had all through out the afternoon into the early evening. Though the rain lasted longer throughout the day and slightly offset the performance schedule, it wasn’t as bad of a storm as the day before. Covert opened up the main stage about an hour late due to the rain, and I heard most of their funk-infused jam rock styling from inside my tent. The set sounded great with some really nice reggae breakdowns during some of their songs as well as decent vocals which had been absent most of the weekend. Unfortunately, they didn’t get quite the turnout they deserved because of the weather.

Covert had set the tone of the day nicely as I checked out more bands throughout the day than I had the day before. The next group I saw was a bit of Elemental Groove Theory, an enjoyable ensemble with guitar, bass, drum, sax, trumpet, keyboards and a talented female singer. Some Latin flavor peaked into their mix of funky rock, and where keyboard and guitar solos may have lacked, the horn section and swinging bass made up and helped lift the singers voice up like a siren calling throughout the festival grounds. Audience was also thin at this show due to the early afternoon placement and rain showers.


With rain beginning to clear up and sunshine reappearing, the Illinois quartet Brainchild was commanding the main stage. It was nice to get to see some of these regional up and coming groups this weekend, particularly Brainchild. Funk seemed to be the theme of the early afternoon at this point and I certainly wasn’t complaining, but to pigeonhole this band to just funk would be unfair. They were also jazzy and at times touched on progressive metal overtones similar to Umphrey’s Mcgee, though not in a way that I would describe as derivative. Everyone in the group had chops with silky smooth bass, driving drums and ripping guitar work. Spacey tones were explored in the song “Green” and vocals brought Grateful Dead vibes to mind with “Follow the Morning Sun”. The song that stood out the most to everyone around at the time was “Funky Robot”, a strong jam vehicle with faster jazzy-funk that had the crowd shaking it.

Around this point in the afternoon I was drifting around a bit to catch some of my friend’s music at the festival. Thunder St. Clair spun a massive set which started out with some heavy but tasteful dubstep. There were some great looping buildups being done on the fly in his genre-spanning set. Though I left to go check out Jaws That Bite midway through, I was told his set reached house, juke, drum ‘n’ bass and other flavors throughout its course. Thunder St. Clair has learned from the best as a prominent DJ promoter in Cleveland, Ohio.

Deepblip Record’s Jaws That Bite and Shadow Attack’s respective sets finally drew me over to spend some time at the third performance space. On the way back into the campgrounds that led to the Sacred Forest and the Galactic Temple, there was the Grassroots Dome. Much like at Wakarusa earlier this summer, Grassroots California had custom hats including one especially made for The Blastoff and other heady apparel for sale in the dome. Performing producers and DJs set up at a table inside the dome and played out of a modest PA system compared to the other actual stages. The setup was fine for the local beat makers, though at this time the crowd was spreading out around the dome to check out these sets. This area would also host yoga, hula hooping and other workshops and miscellaneous performances throughout the daytime. Both performers had solid sets with new tracks from the last time I’d covered them opening at a Shigeto concert in Ann Arbor, though I was left wondering why the two hadn’t performed together like they had previously.

Though I had to make some time to catch some local heroes at the Grassroots Dome, there was no way I was going to miss my first chance of seeing Zoogma over at the main stage. The Mississippi five-piece consisted of guitar, drums, bass, synthesizers and Midi controllers, and more than one lap top could be seen on stage. Their seamless blending of live instrumentation, improvisation and computerized production elements was impressive. Mind-bending synth licks set the tone while driving rhythms and machine-like guitar precision guided the music to enormous peaks. The pace would work back and forth between breakneck drum ‘n’ bass and half time hip-hop beats reminding me of older STS9 but not to an unoriginal extent at all. Vocal samples were even lightly used in agreement with live instrumentation. The fullness of their sound actually made The Malah’s following set sound a little bare although I didn’t catch enough of it to write them off.

One unexpected gem of the rainy afternoon was hearing frequent Cirque Du Womp performer Dixon’s Violin at the amphitheater stage. Dixon would often refer to his musical expressions as a journey that I fully welcomed as a break from shredding guitars or subwoofer bending basses. Using only a violin and a looping pedal station, Dixon laid out rhythms by playing or plucking the strings and build them into transcendent crescendos. It was the only set of the weekend that had such a meditative quality with spellbinding serenity. Many would stop by to take a break and have a seat in the wet grass and allow themselves to be transported by the sound of Dixon’s Violin.

Later at the amphitheater stage, Vibesquad was pulling in a larger crowd than the main stage at the time as the on-and-off rain was finally receding for the night. A member of Zilla and frequent collaborator with Janover and The Glitch Mob’s Ooah, Vibesquad knows how to get a party going. His sound characterizes the west coast glitch-hop and dubstep movements at the moment and is perfect for fans of Bassnectar or his collaborative partners. With a laptop and a controller device, he appeared to be using Ableton as a DJing program, mixing all of his own tracks, edits and remixes, including an interesting rework of a Nas and Damian Marley vocal track that stood out to me. Big bass wobbles with dissecting blips and break dancing beats keep his sound from stagnating on standard dubstep rhythms for too long. Acid-synth and upbeat, crunked out hyphy was preferable to the more mechanical and aggressive sounds of Mochipet on the main stage.


After Vibesquad wrapped up, the Amphitheater stage was quickly turned over to Bass Science. Since the performance, it has come to my attention that this is a production duo, though only one member of the group appeared on stage. I was also under the impression that this was a Live PA kind of performance until a friend of mine pointed out that the lone member was dropping a Starkey track. Given these circumstances I don’t really know how to call this one other than to say that it was a smoother brand of bass music than Vibesquad’s more glitched-out sound. I noticed some additional plug-ins to his Ableton setup that provided very synth heavy and hybrid bass sounds and shimmering high arpeggiated melodies. Friends of mine who’d seen the group before claimed that past shows they’ve seen were better, so due to the lack of the whole group’s presence, I’m withholding any serious assessment.

After a previous lack luster encounter with Mimosa in the live setting while opening for The Disco Biscuits last year, I had more or less planned on avoiding his set. Since performances on the amphitheater stage had been pushed back a bit from rain and other scheduling issues, I could clearly hear the first half of his set even waiting at the amphitheater stage while Brothers Past set up. Even him dropping a Hudson Mohawke track that I’m fond of didn’t lure me over. Despite taking a cookie cutter approach to Ableton Live mixing, he was clearly a fan favorite to many crowding the main stage. I’d overheard a few people who left his set complaining that it was the exact same set from Movement Electronic Music Festival a couple weeks prior, and some of my friends who enjoy his studio work shared my complaints about his live show. I wished that it was Ana Sia’s set following that I was actually able to hear.

My weekend was capped off with a performance from Brothers Past, an old favorite of mine who I’ve not had the chance to see in several years. After reuniting with their original drummer in 2008, they’ve been playing with new inspiration. Their performance at The Blastoff was no exception. “Dead Clowns” was the opening song which allowed the band to launch into a high tempo jungle jam. It’s always a treat to hear drummer Rick Lowenberg playing complex jungle beats usually reserved for computerized drum programming. “Getaway Somehow > Can You Keep a Secret” was the meat of the set, as “Getaway Somehow” always has a drawn out experimental electro intro that is the perfect starting point for deep danceable exploration. Clay Parnell’s bass had warm synth pad tones while keyboardist Tom McKee guided through jams with steady themes. Guitarist Tom Hamilton took strong leads to reach climaxes or tease at the next song. He also showed the ability to restrain, providing only rhythmic textures or not playing guitar at all while using his computer and MIDI instead. “One Rabbit Race” was the final song before an encore of “Let’s Start a Gang.” Both songs patiently developed their usual upbeat four-on-the-floor jams into some dubstep leaning, womp bass exploration. This was very tastefully done and seemed to come out of nowhere for how they carefully circled around it before execution, like a plane circling in for landing. “One Rabbit Race” in particular was a highlight though the whole set was consistent with precise transitions from one distinct part of a jam to another.

I heard a few tracks from K@dog and Sheepdog before we made our way home after the weekend and was disappointed I didn’t get to hear them close the festival out with guitarist Jaws That Bite. Cirque Du Womp did a fantastic job with this festival through weather issues and scheduling snafus and didn’t drop the ball for the audience in any way. Through hard work, dedication and no help from corporate sponsorship, they put together a brand new festival for a new generation of music lovers that was in no way limited to dubstep or even electronic music. Their events have always been immersive and interactive, blurring the lines of performers and audience. With experience throwing parties that transport their audience to another world, it’s easy to see why they are setting out to become a creative force involved with the first ever Electric Forest in building the mystical Forest Stage. It’s been inspiring to watch this group grow over the last two years and their constant growth means only bigger things for next year’s Blastoff.

www.theblastoff.net

Blastoff Day One Coverage Here

Tomas’s Day 2 Photo Gallery

Thursday Jazz: Joshua Redman


Words By J-man

Joshua Redman had always displayed superior abilities in many areas. After graduating from Harvard, he was accepted to Yale Law, but decided to defer entrance for what he thought would only be a year. Moving to Brooklyn, NY, he was immersed in the jazz community and began gigging with some of the greats including Roy Hargrove.

In 1991, Joshua won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition which thrust him into pursuing music as a career full time. He was signed to Warner Bros. Records and recorded his first album in 1993, earning himself his first Grammy. Following the Grammy he recorded and toured with such names as Pat Metheny, Christian McBride, Brad Mehldau and Brian Blade.



In early the early 2000s, Joshua was involved in the creation of the SFJAZZ Collective. Redman also performed on many television shows and soundtracks following his time with the collective. In the later part of the decade, Joshua focused on trio work and to this day continues to be one of the most respected saxophonists on the contemporary scene.

www.joshuaredman.com

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Acoustic Cool Down: Iron and Wine & Brett Dennen


Words, Photos & Video By Nicholas Stock (phatphlogblog.blogspot.com)

After the rage fest that was Summer Camp, I took advantage of a more subdued form of entertainment, the acoustic show. Luckily for me, living in Denver makes it never too hard to search out any type of concert experience. I had the privilege to catch Iron and Wine as well as Brett Dennen less than a week apart. Acoustic music soothes the soul, plain and simple. It was a way for me to get grounded and focus on the true basics of what I love.

It was my first time seeing Iron and Wine and I must say that Sam Beam has truly evolved. What began as a simple singer-songwriter shtick has morphed into a full-on band with elements of jazz, lounge, gospel, and rock. He still maintains his acoustic base but the show was much more than I expected. First of all, there was a diverse crowd that comes with the territory when you wander off the well-worn path of jam. It was everyone from grandma and grandpa to the overly enthused college kid.

I guess that’s what I like about Iron and Wine. Sam has such an approachable sound that there is no telling who will drink his Kool-Aid. I took the opportunity early on to get down front and snap some pictures. They sounded great and the entire left side of the floor was bouncing away as Sam conducted his band. I, like many others, got my first taste of their music when Sam did his beautifully rendered cover of the Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights”, literally transforming the song from an electro-pop number into a folk tune.

It was at that point that I began to dig a little deeper into the Iron and Wine catalog. It is an interesting array of music that never ventures too far from its acoustic roots. The show at the Boulder Theater was no different. I was with good friends and took the rare opportunity to zone in on the show. It was over quickly by jam standards as Iron and Wine only played for a little over an hour and half, but it was a solid set of music and I felt warm and fuzzy as I wandered out onto the Pearl Street Mall.

That next Wednesday was Brett Dennen at The Ogden in Denver. I first heard Dennen’s music, ironically enough, at Alpine Valley for a Phish show. I was immediately struck by the power and sincerity of his lyrics. He writes at a level usually reserved for names like Dylan and Crosby. And believe me I don’t make those comparisons lightly. He has a sense of the world that is rarely seen from songwriters his age. Sure, some of his stuff is bubblegum, but it’s the definitely my flavor of chew.

I met Amy in Fort Collins and we drove back down to the city together. We found our friends just as Dennen made his way to the stage. I was truly surprised at the caliber of band he had assembled. They had an incredibly full sound and they were definitely in synch. He focused on tracks from his new album Loverboy which included “Sydney” and “San Francisco”. Brett Dennen also has a very approachable sound, and again the crowd was very eclectic, including everyone from frat boy to hippie. I think that shows the power of acoustic music as the unifying factor. It just makes hearts happy, and Brett, having gotten his start as a camp counselor singing around the campfire, knows how to accomplish that. He encored with a solo acoustic version of “Ain’t No Reason”, which sent the audience soaring before inviting the rest of the band back onstage to close the show. It was another great night of music and I left feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

I find that it’s very enlightening to break away from the norm from time to time. And for me, that required engaging in some acoustic music, although I found that what I thought would be a series of straight singer-songwriter style shows was much, much more. It’s liberating to see new bands without expectations. It helps to widen my perspective to see music from an uninitiated point of view. This time around, the music of Brett Dennen and Sam Beam were just what the doctor ordered.


www.ironandwine.com

www.brettdennen.net

Video of Iron and Wine @ The Boulder Theater:





Video of Brett Dennen @ The Ogden:



Dave Matthews Band Chicago Caravan Preview


Introduction By Greg Molitor

The Dave Matthews Band Caravan rolls into Lakeside in Chicago July 8-10 with some of the biggest and brightest touring acts of 2011. DMB will headline the festival each night, and as an added bonus to the Chicago Caravan, a Summer Camp Saturday Stage will host Summer Camp Music Festival artists Umphrey’s McGee, moe., Yonder Mountain String Band, and Cornmeal on July 9th. Check out the line up and ticket information below...


DMB CHICAGO CARAVAN LINE UP:

Dave Matthews Band (3 shows), Umphrey’s McGee, moe. O.A.R., Ray Lamontagne, Emmylou Harris, The Flaming Lips perform Dark Side of the Moon, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Amos Lee, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Drive-By Truckers, Soulive, SOJA, Daniel Lanois’ Black Dub, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Blind Pilot, Albert Cross, Gary Clark Jr., Bobby Long, Ben Folds, G. Love & The Special Sauce, Yonder Mountain String Band, Vieux Farka Toure, Dumpstaphunk, TR3, Bombino, Cornmeal, Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds, David Grey, Gomez, The Jayhawks, Mariachi El Bronx, Jeff Coffin’s Mu’Tet, The Wailers


TICKET INFORMATION:

General Admission 3-day tickets priced at $195.00 (plus fees) allow you to attend all three days of the festival. GA tickets may be purchased in full or on a payment plan for three payments of $65. Single-day tickets for all Caravan events are now available for $85 per day.

Caravan VIP includes all-day-access to reserved viewing sections at each stage and a VIP hospitality area (with VIP restrooms) serving complimentary snacks, beer, water and soft drinks, plus a gourmet buffet dinner each night from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM.

Three-day Caravan VIP Packages are $825.00 (plus fees) and include a souvenir VIP pass. Single-day VIP Packages are available for $325 per day.

Tickets can be purchased at www.dmbcaravan.com/chicago

For complete festival information, go to: www.dmbcaravan.com

The Blastoff Music & Arts Festival: Day One


Words By Stevie Tee
Photos By Tomas Culver
(89ViSiON Photography)

It’s exciting to see a new music festival pop up in your area, inspiring to see a community build a festival from the ground up. The story of this festival starts about two years ago when DJ Grant “K@dog” Jackson, visual and lighting expert Scott Sutterfield and event coordinator Angela Palaian started putting on parties known as the Dubstep Circus in Detroit. At this time Dubstep had become popular in the UK, NYC and LA, but had yet to develop a major presence in Detroit. These parties brought the new subgenre of electronic dance music to the limelight in Detroit and raised the standard of dance parties in the area with their high-end production values. The group became known as Cirque Du Womp and as the name suggests, they’ve formed a collection of artists and performers to create an immersive theatrical experience that is a spectacle to behold. As they’ve expanded, the group has grown in many directions musical directions beyond dubstep attracting acts such as Emancipator, Michna and jamtronica band The Coop. Their story is truly one of grassroots efforts, ambition and passion. Last summer they took the act out on the road to Summer Camp Music Festival and Camp Bisco. This year they decided to make their own festival featuring a large number of regional bands, producers and DJs, as well as many touring headliners.

It was somewhere around 11 AM on Friday morning when we arrived at Zane Shawnee Caverns, the site of the inaugural Blastoff Music & Arts Festival. Most of the festival attendees were hazily waking up at their campsites from the night before. Even though there were no scheduled performances the night before, Thursday arrival was the popular choice for those looking to start the party early. After a smooth and friendly check-in, it was time to wander around and scope out the area before performances started. There was a good amount of camping within earshot of the two main stages and others spilled into surrounding partially forested areas. Artist installations hung from the trees and led back to the eye-popping Galactic Temple. Food, clothing and other interesting vendors lined the pathway near the main stage.

Opening up the main stage for the weekend’s festivities was the Michigan-based band I Love Dinosaurs. With one of their keyboardists absent, the band is comprised of drums, bass, keyboards and electric violin. Jazz-fusion and progressive rock influences are very apparent in the style and musicianship of the group, but they also had a considerable amount of drum ‘n’ bass, hip-hop and electro flavor. In fact, the group teased “Ain’t Nothin’ but a G thang” to the delight of the early afternoon audience. Most of their songs were seamlessly strung together as the band took only one break between songs in the hour-long set. Synthesized bass guitar shook the ground and the electric violin dazzled going from quiet textural tones, to spacey tremolo and all the way to highflying shred guitar sounds. All members of the band had stand out moments of tension and release and set the bar very high for the weekend’s performances.


Freddy Todd quickly took over the main stage with his unique blend of laser bass synths and dirty glitch-hop grooves. While Freddy manned his computer and controller device to conduct the non-stop flow of beats and blaps, his friend and recent collaborator Jaws That Bite accompanied him on guitar with an elaborate series of pedals. Jaws That Bite wove eerie harmonies and transcending melodic riffs over Freddy’s slightly dubstep leaning, heavy hip-hop breaks. Every time I’ve seen this producer he has brought something new to the table in his all-original, live PA performances. His set of sexy new tunes drew out the largest audience of the day until headliners started taking the stage much later in the evening. With his squeaky clean, professionally produced sound and party-starting tracks, it’s not hard to see why he’s gigging across the country.

After taking a break from the early afternoon heat, I managed to hear some of Archnemesis’s set at the amphitheater stage adjacent to the main stage. This live PA production duo is made up of Curt Heiny from Telepath and Justin Aubuchon from MO Theory on laptop computers and controller devices. It’s no surprise that their collective experience with live instrumentation brought a lot of depth to the sound that they bring to the stage. Coupling that with some tasteful sampling, they kicked out a soulful array of funky hip-hop tunes. One thing that I’ve noticed from listening to Telepath that translated to Archnemesis’s performance is a knack for world-beat style percussion and flare. Not to mention MO Theory’s big-time breakbeat sound that remains the centerpiece of this duo’s output. Shortly after dropping a brand new track that I was digging, they started relying on more of a mashup feel drawing in acapellas from popular songs, creating a remixed top-40 sound that turned me off. It was about then that I headed back over to the main stage to check out the band that was setting up.

Over at the main stage, the band EP3 (short for Eight Planets Past Pluto) were building up some interesting themes. This quartet from Atlanta was made up of drums, bass, guitar and keyboards, which I believe also had some computerized production elements as well. Their tension-and-release jams that built upon melodic themes in between the structured parts reminded me of the Disco Biscuits in a big way, especially the guitar playing. Some slower or more hip-hop based songs also brought STS9 and Pnuma Trio to mind. Though they had their noticeable influences, found myself coming back to their set when I left briefly to check out Eprom whose heavy dubstep sound was a bit aggressive for my tastes. The last song EP3 played distinguished them from their influences to me with a developed intro that featured some interesting tom work in the drumming and more airy, organic textures that didn’t rely on standard electronic jam band cliches.

As the evening wore on, I found myself drifting from stage to stage a bit more catching bits and pieces of different sets. Noah D was dropping some proper dubstep. Though I usually have a difficult time picking out tracks from DJ sets, I noticed he mixed “It’s Late” by Silkie who is one of my favorite dubstep producers currently. His set was deeper and more laid back then Eprom had been directly before him on the amphitheater stage, but I decided to take the opportunity to see all the bands I could for the weekend considering most of the headlining acts were DJs and producers.

The Werks arrived a bit late and could only play a brief three-song set that was still quite enjoyable. Since the last time I’d caught them they’d grown from a trio to five-piece band with two guitars, bass, organ and drums giving them more of a classic rock feel as opposed to a lot of the electronic jam bands of the weekend. Funky backbeats and slap bass made their music easy to move to, while bright organ leads and shredded guitar licks elevated jams to triumphant peaks. The Werks actually started throwing festivals at this site for the first time the previous year at their shindig called “The Werk Out.”

Audiences started filling-in for some of the evening’s later acts like Bay Area producer Heyoka. Heyoka’s live PA set was perfect for those who love glitched out, psychedelic downtempo, trip-hop. Basses wobbled in and out over crisp lead synthesizer melodies. Wave and sampled sounds would wash over the mix at the turn of a knob on his controller device and steady beats would occasionally warp out at the hands of this unique up-and-coming producer. His sound brings to mind The Glitch Mob with less of a gangster rap influence and more organic elements. However, this set and possibly Eliot Lipp’s were cut short due to a heavy storm passing through.

In contrast on the amphitheater stage Eliot Lipp’s set was much smoother and straightforward with more classic analog sounds. Lipp’s brand of hip-hop beats had a lot more movement and got into some higher tempos than Heyoka on the main stage. The crowd was getting down! There was plenty of electro styling that characterized this producer’s earlier work, and I would’ve liked to have heard more of this set before the storm set in. Fortunately I could hear the abrupt conclusion of the set from my tent.

After the storm passed through, I made my way down to the main stage as it reopened to catch one of my favorite sets of the weekend. Nosaj Thing was about to drop one of the most unique sounding sets of the weekend that had elements of live PA and DJing while not relying too heavily on any particular genre. The main stage was now at maximum volume to draw the audience out of their tents, cars and other shelter from the storm. The low end was very deep and heavy hitting, not too aggressive or overbearing. Lighter, almost angelic melodic sounds contrasted nicely to the depth of the low end. Original remixes of Flying Lotus and “Wandering Star” by Portishead elicited huge crowd response. This was one of the last sets I would hear from start to finish and despite the fact that it was supposed to be one of Nosaj Thing’s coveted visual sets, no one seemed to mind with the set that was constructed for us.


After Nosaj Thing’s stirring conclusion, Ott was delving into highly psychedelic territory at the amphitheater stage. Some of the first tracks I heard of his performance were heavier new songs from his new album, Mir, that had dubstep elements and womp bass that is absent from his earlier work. Soon after he got into tracks from his first two albums that have a trippy dub reggae feel. His productions, like all members of the Twisted records roster, have stunningly rich and masterful sound quality. Sampled Indian vocals on tracks from his album Skylon also brought to mind the Twisted Records sound. What I caught of his set was spacey and relaxing, an intriguing set despite the fact that many of the tracks that I recognized from Bluemenkraft and Skylon seemed similar to how they sound on the album.

Now that it was dark outside, Cirque Du Womp’s signature performers were on platforms flanking the main stage, mesmerizing the audience with fire dancing, hooping and other glow in the dark tripped out madness while Tipper kept the psychedelic vibes going. Exotic percussion and richly textured electronic layering made his set stand out. Hypnotic melodies swayed to the groove of otherworldly downtempo beats that ranged from sexy to creepy. The volume of the main stage had once again been reduced to a more conservative level but it didn’t hinder this set for its ambient, chilled-out nature. This exploratory set is one that I wish I had spent more time seeing.

One of the big stories of the night was how well the Cirque Du Womp’s regional DJs and producers held their weight compared to the headlining DJs of the weekend, particularly when K@dog and Ohio-based drum ‘n’ bass/jungle DJ Sheepdog teamed up for some tag team late night action both nights of the festival. We’ll look further into these performances in our coverage of Day Two, but I wanted to hint at why these two DJs will be performing at Electric Forest at the stage Cirque Du Womp will be curating...

www.theblastoff.net

Blastoff Day Two Coverage Here

Tomas’s Day 1 Photo Gallery

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Jamtronica Sampler: Artists of All Good Music Festival


Words By Greg Molitor (ReMIND Photography)

Even though the All Good Music Festival 2011 line up isn’t loaded with as many live electronica acts as other festivals are this summer, there are a few big names on the bill that will surely keep the masses hyped and movin’. Here’s a sampler of some jamtronica artists that’ll be performing at All Good Music Festival, taking place in Masontown, WV, from July 14 – 17…





Pretty Lights

www.prettylightsmusic.com






Big Gigantic

www.myspace.com/biggigantic





STS9

www.sts9.com



For more complete All Good Music Festival 2011 information, visit www.allgoodfestival.com

Electric Forest’s Solar Glow Disk Experience


Words By Greg Molitor

Electric Forest Festival 2011 is bringing a unique twist to the game of disc golf with the first ever Solar Glow Disk Experience. The Solar Glow Disk Experience builds upon the previous work of Stephanai Myers, author of Disc Golf Michigan, who debuted the very first extreme glow disc golf course at Hoxeyville Music Festival 2009 in Northern Michigan. Taking inspiration from Rothbury’s Sherwood Forest, Myers used 2,000 glow sticks at Hoxeyville 2009 to line the course and baskets, creating a visual disc golf experience that wowed attendees throughout the weekend.


After improving the course for Hoxeyville Music Festival 2010, Myers and friends have created The Solar Glow Disk Experience for Electric Forest 2011. The glow sticks have been replaced with solar powered LED lights to create more stunning visual stimulation as well as to promote a more sustainable disc golf experience. By combining the sport of disc golf with sustainable visual enhancements, The Solar Glow Disk Experience has invented a new way for attendees to enjoy music festivals through a positive, environmentally conscious complimentary activity. From the early inspiration of Sherwood Forest to the long-awaited return to Rothbury, Michigan, the project has truly come full circle, and if you’re traveling to Electric Forest, don’t miss this incredible spectacle as The Solar Glow Disk Experience will be making history this Fourth of July weekend!


The Solar Glow Disk Experience Facebook Page

www.electricforestfestival.com

Electronic Spotlight: Break Science


Words By Greg Molitor (ReMIND Photography)

Drummer Adam Deitch is quite possibly the hardest working man in the jam scene these days. This dude is seemingly everywhere as of late. While Deitch is more apt to be known for contributing percussive muscle to the electronic juggernaut Pretty Lights or his funk supergroup Lettuce, the producer / drummer combo of Break Science is currently his most intimate and personally expressive project…



With Break Science, Deitch and producer Borahm Lee combine hip-hop, funk, soul and jazz rhythms with the deep bass and textured layers that are synonymous with electronic music. The duo’s tour schedule during the upcoming months is festival-heavy with stops at Electric Forest, Camp Bisco, Wicker Park and the Royal Family Affair among others. In January 2011, Break Science released a free album titled, Further Than Our Eyes Can See. Click on the link below to download it!



Album Download

www.breaksciencemusic.com

Monday, June 27, 2011

Flashback: Genesis Live


Words By Jon Irvin


This week on Flashback, I dive a little deeper into the catalog bringing you 1973’s Genesis Live. This isn’t your mid 80s Phil Collins Genesis that we grew up with, even though “Land of Confusion” was a pretty awesome music video. No, I’m going way back, into the depths of the beginning of the progressive rock age.

Before Genesis started to turn out radio hits one after another, their early days were a bit more complex. With Peter Gabriel at the helm, Genesis became one of the leading acts, following Pink Floyd, to dive into the multifaceted new genre, progressive rock. Long before Phish took us through Gamehendge, Genesis was the king of musical stories. With every show, the audience was taken deep into a mystical world created by Gabriel, rich with both ground breaking song structures and elaborate costumes and theatrics.


Genesis Live is the only live release to feature Peter Gabriel before departing on his highly successful solo career. The piece de resistance on the album is the opening song “Watcher of the Skies”, a song that was performed by Phish at Genesis’s 2010 Rock n Roll Hall of Fame ceremony. The importance of Genesis on the music industry was echoed by Trey Anastasio during the induction speech:

"Rebellious, restless and constantly striving for something more... Every musical rule and boundary was questioned and broken... It's impossible to overstate what impact this band and musical philosophy had on me as a young musician. I'm forever in their debt."

www.genesis-music.com

Enjoy comparing these two videos!



Jam Band Spotlight: Great American Taxi


Words By Greg Molitor (ReMIND Photography)

Great American Taxi is the perfect band name to describe Vince Herman’s latest musical project. With Taxi, Herman and the crew take their audiences on an energy-filled ride by infusing multiple genres into their signature Americana sound. By offering top-notch instrumentation and sharp lyrics within their songs, Great American Taxi has a bit of something for everyone to take home after their shows. The band has tour dates scheduled through the end of August and along the way will perform at multiple festivals including Northwest String Summit in Oregon, Hoxeyville Music Festival in Michigan, and Nedfest in Colorado. Before you take your next trip on the live Taxi, be sure to check out this crisp recording from Dunegrass Music Festival 2008 that features sit-ins by fiddlers Tim Carbone (Railroad Earth) and Allie Kral (Cornmeal). Enjoy!

Great American Taxi Live at Dunegrass on 2August 1, 2008.



www.greatamericantaxi.com

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Telluride Bluegrass Festival


Words By Chris Pandolfi (Infamous Stringdusters)

Why is Telluride Bluegrass so epic? There are a million reasons, which is why people have been making the trek for 38 years. This year was more hype than most, with the encore performance of Mumford and Sons and the earliest sell out ever. But it was also the same quality plan of years past–the definitive gathering of acoustic all stars atop an endless lineup of must-see bands, all set in one of the most beautiful and inspiring places in the world. Telluride is a huge party in the mountains that’s home to the biggest and best acoustic sounds going (albeit sometimes in a more electric setting). Epic is the only word for it.

The original Flecktones set was the highlight. Howard Levy was back after almost 20 years, and he was just killing it. Their music is pure innovation, newer and better than before (Future Man’s rig sounded great). That level of originality is still so inspiring after all these years. Big kudos to Bela Fleck–the undisputed king of modern day banjo.

We’re big fans of the Telluride late-night scene. Over the course of four days you can see almost all the best acts at one of the clubs in town, after hours. These shows are packed–amazing rooms and amazing energy. For the ‘Dusters, a 2 PM festival set is a different experience than two sets late-night. At Telluride you get to do both.

But really everything about this year was great–way too many bands to mention. The Telluride House Band got it all rolling on Thursday night (pic above), and things never slowed down. The Dusters had a great set Friday afternoon, a big throw-down with Yonder on Friday night at the Sheridan, and our own Nightgrass set on Saturday. We filmed with many cameras, and the first results look good. Tim O’brien‘s band was on point, as well as the Punch Bros–both sounded extremely tight. Andy Hall and Sam Bush were all over the excellent Emmitt-Nershi set on Saturday afternoon. Sunday night was the big night: Mumford (featuring Bela and Jerry), Robert Plant and a snowstorm. All this, amidst the laid back CO mountain town feeling and a sea of generous, music loving fans. Telluride is hard to beat. We can’t wait for the next one.

www.chrispandolfi.com

Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival Preview


Oak Hill, NY
July 14-17

Words By Tabitha Clancy
Photos By J-man & Jon Irvin


Steeped in the tradition of bluegrass, Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival provides an atmosphere for musicians, students, and patrons to enjoy their favorite old-time songs as well as absorb fresh sounds of up and coming artists. Located in Oak Hill, NY on the Walsh Farm, Grey Fox continues its annual fest, from July 14-17, with pride in its artists, vendors, and minimal footprint recommendations. The festival won the International Bluegrass Musician’s Association award for Event of the Year in 2009.

In addition to providing a temporary home for Bluegrass music aficionados, Grey Fox offers a yearly scholarship to students of the genre. Also included are workshops throughout the weekend and a free academy for kids. Berklee College of Music faculty will be presenting educational workshops focusing on American Roots Music.


Grey Fox takes their Bluegrass serious and it shows in the line up. With approximately 40 bands on the bill, everyone will surely have a moment where the music moves them. Some will enjoy gentle ballads, while others will dance to their favorite fiddle tunes and others will enjoy the personality of everyone’s friend, the banjo. The choices are as endless as the individual’s perception. There is something for everyone. The variety of bluegrass artists extend from old favorites, Sam Bush and Del McCoury to newer bands, Infamous Stringdusters and Greensky Bluegrass – and everything else in between.

One strikingly neat concept of the festival is their chair rule (and they really don’t have many rules). Chairs are encouraged to be placed and left in one spot the entire weekend. Any unattended chair is to be shared with another until its rightful owner returns. Fairly priced, the festival is geared for families and kids of all ages.


GREY FOX BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL LINE UP:

Host Band: Dry Branch Fire Squad, Sam Bush Band, J.D. Crowe and the New South, Chris Thile & Michael Daves, O'Brien Party of Seven: Tim O, Mollie O, Rich Moore & their families, Del McCoury Band, Yonder Mountain String Band, The Infamous Stringdusters, The SteelDrivers, The Gibson Brothers, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, Claire Lynch Band, Crooked Still, The Boxcars, Tony Trischka Territory, Laurie Lewis & Tom Rozum, Greensky Bluegrass, Donna the Buffalo, Spinney Brothers, Rockin' Acoustic Circus, The Hillbenders, Della Mae, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, Monroeville, The Dixie Bee-Liners, Red Stick Ramblers, Sweetback Sisters, Cornerstone, John Kirk and Trish Miller, Jim Gaudet & the Railroad Boys, Fiddlestyx, Jubal's Kin, Katy Wilson & Two Time String Band, Citigrass, Chasing Blue, Blue Moose and Unbuttoned Zippers


TICKET INFORMATION:

For ticket prices & more information visit, www.greyfoxbluegrass.com

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Grateful Dead & Red Rocks


Words By J-man

Many bands have formed a special relationship and connection with the world famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre and the Grateful Dead were no different. The elevated energy and the beauty of the venue made for one hell of an "experience" and quickly took many of the Red Rocks shows to legendary status.

Enjoy the first run/experience that the Grateful Dead ever played at Red Rocks. These shows are literally some of the best Dead shows that I have heard, not only in performance but in regards to recording quality as well.

Enjoy!

Grateful Dead Live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre on July 7, 1978.



Jack Straw, Candyman, Me & My Uncle-> Big River, Friend Of The Devil, Cassidy, Tennessee Jed, Passenger, Peggy-O, The Music Never Stopped Cold Rain & Snow, Beat It On Down The Line, Scarlet Begonias-> Fire On The Mountain, Dancin' In The Streets-> Drums-> Not Fade Away-> Nobody's Fault But Mine-> Not Fade Away-> Black Peter-> Around & Around, E:U.S. Blues, E: Johnny B. Goode

Grateful Dead Live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre on July 8, 1978.



Bertha-> Good Lovin', Dire Wolf, El Paso, It Must Have Been The Roses, Minglewood Blues, Ramble On Rose, Promised Land, Deal Samson & Delilah, Ship of Fools, Estimated Prophet-> The Other One-> Eyes Of The World-> Drums-> Wharf Rat-> Franklin's Tower-> Sugar Magnolia E:Terrapin Station > One More Saturday Night, Werewolves of London

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Funky Four

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

Words By Andy DeVilbiss


I know. This used to be The Funky Five. Now it's going to be The Funky Four. I could say it's because of some mystical cosmic crap like The Funk is, rhythmically, primarily a four-beat per measure affair that forms The One, allowing mankind to create multidimensional harmonic synergy for maximum universal awareness. I could say it's because MusicMarauders can't afford #5 until we lock up our lucrative glowstick and frenchbread pizza advertising deal. But... No. Five is just too many for me. To put it in boxing terms, I've got to punch my weight. Especially when the hot, humid Baltimore summer is melting my brain.

I've never understood why the month of June is such a big month for weddings. Thermometer's creeping around 90. The air is so muggy you need a scuba tank. Yeah buddy, that's the perfect time for dressing up to sit under the sun in rows of tightly packed folding chairs. I'm all about celebrating your love, but don't ask me why there's a section of frizz and pit-stains in the dance floor photos when you're flipping through your wedding album down the road. That's actually a decent band name. Frizz and the Pit-Stains... Coming to a wedding reception near you. FaPS (as the kids call them) would certainly be an improvement over your usual DJ.

The last wedding I went to was really a good time. It was. But here's my beef with the "DJ." He wasn't even trying to do anything even remotely disc jockey-esque, hence my derisive quotes around "DJ." There was no equipment. No turntable, vinyl or CD. No mixer to be seen either. He brought a laptop with iTunes on it for his invisible mixer, and I guess the speakers. If that's now the low bar we've set as a people to be able to qualify as a "DJ," then call me "DJ A-Dawg" on the ones and twos. I'm familiar with how a mouse works. I can make a playlist of popular songs and hit shuffle, even. I'll start lining up my own gigs. Heck, I won't even have to wait for somebody (I'm not saying who exactly) to request James Brown, I'd just use my keen "DJ" sense and know that playing James Brown at a wedding is a good idea. I'm not sayin'... I'm just sayin'.

Consider this Funky Four a showcase of my mad "DJ" skillz. I'm available for all your wedding reception needs. I might even do it for free if you have a mashed potato bar (perhaps the coolest thing I've ever seen at a reception). I'll even play crap your grandmother gets down to like "The Hokey-Pokey" and "The Electric Slide."

1. Something Old

Karl Denson's Tiny Universe- "Fallin'"



This is the studio version of "Fallin'" AKA "The BBQ Song" from the Tiny Universe's self-titled 1999 album, the debut of Diesel's second, funkier, solo career so to speak. Interesting line-up note- Soulive's Alan Evans mans the drum kit. 1999's not so long ago, so why is this filed under "Something Old?" Because I've been re-organizing my digital music collection and I was unable to google an image of the album cover bigger than a thumbnail. That means, in today's interwebz-driven world, this album has become a fossil.

2. Something New

Ikebe Shakedown - Ikebe Shakedown



There must be something in Brooklyn, NY, that breeds funky-as-hell bands with an Afrobeat twist. Bands like Antibalas, the Budos Band and now Ikebe Shakedown, who just released their self-titled, full-length debut on Ubiquity Records. The tracks range from scorchers that sound like the soundtrack to a blaxploitation film car chase to more mellow and traditional Afrobeat tones. The rhythm section is tight and the horn players prove to be thoughtful soloists who can instantly lock in together as a unit for some heavy licks. If you're a deep funk or Afrobeat fan, this is one you need to check out. Here's hoping they do some touring.

3. Something Borrowed

Lord Finesse & DJ Mike Smooth - "Track The Movement"



Consider this another edition of our fabulous game show, "These Are The Breaks." We're going old school, NYC underground style with Lord Finesse and this gem from Funky Technician. Sure, these days the beats and flow might sound a bit dated, but bragadocious gems like "Keep the crowd listenin' / I'm so magnificent / It even says finesse on my birth certificate" from the album's title track never go out of style (Finesse then goes on to elaborate about his bravery, skill and chicanery and that he gets the ladies 'cause he uses his brain you see). Where do the DJ Premier-produced beats on "Track The Movement" come from? The piano tinkle and basis for the drum beat are from here, and the horns (particularly the lick used in the scratch breaks) are from here.

4. Something Blue

Johnny "Guitar" Watson - "Ain't That A Bitch"



You could easily file this one under "Something Old" as well. The pimpaliciously-styled Watson is the artist most often credited for fusing the stylistic elements of traditional blues with The Funk. He had a string of pretty successful albums in the mid-70s, fueled in large part by the success this radio-unfriendly title track from 1976's Ain't That A Bitch and another cut from the album, the slightly more romantic "Superman Lover." Although, it's 35 years old and we might have to update Johnny's reference of Kareem Abdul Jabbar's skyhook to something about LeBron choking, the story's still the same. It's hard times out there in America, and sometimes you just gotta say it... Ain't that a bitch.

All the more reason to hit that open bar and dance your ass off at the next wedding you get to. I'm thinking "DJ A-Dawg” might be too funky for your average nuptials. Let me give you the number for the Frizz and the Pit-Stains, and, if you're interested, I got a line on a good mashed potato bar guy, too.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fareed Haque's MathGames & Shakedown in Denver


The weekend of July 1st will mark the return of Fareed Haque and MathGames featuring Ray White to Quixote's True Blue in Denver, CO! Also, performing the music of The Grateful Dead will be Shakedown Street! Join us for three nights of top notch musicianship at one of Colorado's most incredible venue's!

MathGames:

The Math Games Trio is an electronica jazz/funk groove band perfect for festival rave or night club settings. It is Fareed Haque's latest project and it will be bringing their hip new sound to the road. Moog guitar enthusiasts will not want to miss this band, as the new and innovative instrument will be Fareed's ax of choice for shows. Math Games will be playing as a trio, as Flat Earth Ensemble members Alex Austin and Greg Fundis bring their talent and flair to the mix.



MathGames made its recent debut at Chicago's Mayne Stage theater in November of 2010. Watch the video below to see how this unique trio is transforming light and sound into a funktronica sweatbox. Combining the phenomenal skills of guitar master Fareed Haque with the wildly entertaining drumming of Greg Fundis, and the solid and sweet foundation supplied by Alex Austin, you get a MathGames equation that will perplex but eventually satisfy your thirst for knowledge. The band will continually provide new sights and sounds, utilizing video and light artists whenever possible. Surprises are in store.

RSVP to The Facebook Event Here

www.fareed.com/mathgames

Thursday Jazz: Bill Evans


Words By J-man

Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett... these are some of the great players of our time. As folks who have elevated jazz music to its prestigious current day level, they have paved the way and sparked interest in many young players captivated by their sound. But who inspired them? Who paved their road to virtuosity? The answer is Bill Evans.



Bill Evans's contribution was in his style. Bill played rhythmically independent, "singing" melodic lines unlike what anyone else had done prior. He would juxtapose the harmonies to create an altogether unique sound differing from the previous bebop swing jazz that came before him. Instead, he fused classical music with jazz and other styles to create his masterful sound while displaying a deep understanding of melodies with his playing.

Bill played with the likes of Billie Holiday, Charles Mingus, Miles Davis, Jack DeJohnette, Tony Bennett and so many other greats. But as with many great jazz musicians, Bill had an issue with heroin that led to his eventual death. Many have speculated his habit derived from his time with Miles in the 1950s.



In the end, he is remembered as a legend that continues to be honored by those who follow in his musical footsteps, paving new ground by incorporating this style. His contribution to jazz is a part of a larger circle of continuous progress and virtuosity.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Motet at Mishawaka 6.18.11


Words By J-man
Photos & Video By Carly Marthis & J-man



After seeking an excuse to make it up to Mishawaka (a venue that we have heard only good things about), an opportunity presented itself in the form of one of my current favorite bands and a great group of gentleman. My girlfriend Carly and I were invited by "Pistol" Pete Wall to join the Motet horn section up to the Mish. March Fourth would open the show, DJ Mikey Thunder would play the tweener set and The Motet would close it down. The evening felt like a circus. With folks in costumes and others on stilts, The Motet performed one of, if not the best show that I have seen them play.

Our afternoon started near a street fair in Denver. We parked our car and were picked up by Pete who was joined by Matt Pitts (tenor sax) and Gabe Mervine (trumpet) in his sick-ass conversion van. The friendly trash talking began, only to increase on the drive through the curvy roads into the mountains.

We arrived at Mishawaka and I immediately fell in love. The venue was located on a river across from a beautiful scenic mountainside. The stage was made out of large logs and had a very natural feel to it. To my surprise, the venue was a lot smaller than I had anticipated and had a much more intimate feel than expected. Seeing it empty at the time, as it was 4:00 PM (several hours before show time), I looked forward to seeing it in full effect that evening.



Carly and I had a bite to eat on the restaurant deck over the river. As we sat and dined, we had plenty of time to take in the whole atmosphere... it was quite incredible. Following dinner, we headed to the greenroom where we were told stories of the previous owner and his parrot who used to fly around and shit on everything as well as nip at folks. We laughed at the absurdity of the stories and reflected on the improvements by the new owner(s). By all accounts, the place was in much better shape and operating order.

The greenroom was like a small apartment with a full kitchen and a couple of nice spreads. The atmosphere was really light as The Motet dined casually and prepped for the show. We headed over to the merch table followed by Dave Watts who carried a suitcase. March Fourth had an extensive merch setup with everything from shirts to hats to belts. The woman running the booth spoke of how the band had two sewing machines on the bus and made their own goods. We were impressed. Dave and Carly tried on hats before Dave settled on two.

Making our way back to the viewing deck, we noticed folks pointing at the mountainside across the river. A group of mountain goats had come down to graze on the grass and possibly catch some tunes (free-loaders). It was a beautiful sight.



The evening's music began with a short lead in by DJ Mikey Thunder. His tasteful selections of funk and jazz had me entertained. It takes a special kind of DJ to impress me, and I was thoroughly into it. The guys from The Motet looked on with smiles and good cheer.

March Fourth Marching Band took the stage as the sun set, officially opening the show. I wasn't sure how this was going to play out as the stage filled with rag tag looking individuals. But from the very beginning, I was a fan. The combination of the horns, the marching drums and the antics were extremely entertaining. More and more members of the band came out from backstage in costumes, on stilts and in dancing attire. It was an overloaded circus vibe with great tunes to back it.

Where as most closers could care less about the opening band, the majority of The Motet watched intently from the VIP deck. It was great to see such a great response from the crowd as the stilt walkers had everyone move back for a display of what they were capable of. Acrobatics, a stripper pole and organized dancing were all a part of the fun.

Following the March Fourth set, the crowd was buzzing as folks continued to arrive in large touring-class buses. DJ Mikey Thunder played a short set in between as The Motet prepared their equipment and took the stage.

It was apparent from the get-go that this would be a special show. Maybe it was the venue, maybe it was the crowd or a combination of both, but the band was excited and loose. From the very first song, it was clear that they would leave no one standing still.

From left to right; Joey Porter dug into the keys chopping away effortlessly and swaying back and forth. From his clavinet chops to his tonal bends, The sounds that came out of Joey's keys were some of the most enjoyable that I have ever heard. Joey adds one of the greatest contributions to the Motet... funk.


Garrett Sayers stood towards the back of the stage, not only holding down the low end but covering so much range. It was entertaining to realize that my jaw was hanging open, then to notice that almost everyone in the band was in the same position. Garrett is a musician's musician with an ability to completely captivate a crowd. I have seen some of the world's greatest bass players, but Garrett is without a doubt my favorite.



At the very back of the stage was the magic man himself, Dave Watts. Dave's role in The Motet is band manager, booking, merch, everything. His role on the drums is of the same level. Dave leads and guides the Motet directionally to places that only someone of elevated vision and ability could take them. Dave holds the band to a high standard musically and that's reflected in their output.

To Dave's left was percussionist Scott Messersmith. Percussionists often get overlooked but in a band like the Motet, Scott's contribution is immeasurable. I took time to focus on Scott as he powered through the sets. His playing was tight as he added such a danceable/tasteful/unique layer to the Motet's electro-funk sound. At times, the hand drums took the music to a pure afrobeat-sounding dance party. Additionally, Scott's timing and sense of musical direction was apparent.

At the front of the stage was guitarist Ryan Jalbert. Since the first time I saw Ryan play I dug his sound, but this night at the Mish, he absolutely tore it up. A special moment came in the second set as Ryan teased the Grateful Dead's "Dark Star". I'm sure most of the fans didn't catch or recognize it, but for those of us who did, it foreshadowed The Motet's upcoming "Funk is Dead" Halloween run.

Singer Jans Ingber captivated the crowd with his showman-like abilities. He danced as the Motet played, serving as a medium between the crowd and the band. Jans also contributed on percussion with a cool moment coming in the form of March Fourth. Jans and members of March Fourth stood at the front of the stage for a killer drums and percussion breakdown.

Lastly, the spice of the Motet... the horn section. Collectively, they sounded tight and didn't miss a cue, individually they were a force to be reckoned with. When musicians of this stature play in a section, it's easy to miss the full scope of their talents, but one thing that is unique to the Motet is their band's willingness to feature individual talent through solos.

Pete tore down the house with several solos, most notably solos featuring the soprano sax. The soprano is often associated with smooth jazz, a notion that Pete Wall has since torn down. His straight ahead, all or nothing style captivated the crowd and resulted in screams of joy. Pete also graced the crowd with some flute, baritone and some duel instrumentation featuring both the soprano and bari.

Gabe's trumpet playing was right to follow with impressive tonal quality and the brass to move the crowd. His solos were constructed well and his bright sound put smiles on the faces of so many eating up his display of talent.

Matt Pitts had one of the standout solos of the evening at the peak of multiple fire spinners in front of the stage. It could have been the surrounding environment, but Matt tore apart the tenor sax and contributed to one of the major highlights of the show.


Then there was Steve Swatkins of Juno What who guested. I had a great time talking music with Steve and observing his minor apprehension for having to cover for Ryan on guitar the following night in Statebridge. A couple of times I observed him playing along in the greenroom, putting the finishing touches on his chops. Steve joined The Motet for a couple of vocal tracks, a couple of tracks with Joey on keys and a killer Juno solos towards the end of the show.


That night was the best Motet show I have seen to date. It's great to see a band with such consistent energy and music. No man was the weak link as they collectively elevated the project to musical bliss. In addition to enjoying their music, I feel honored to consider them friends and to be welcomed into their circle. We're looking forward to this weekend's upcoming Motet with Kyle Hollingsworth tribute to The Talking Heads concert. I have a feeling that it will be epic, a must for any true Talking Heads/Motet fan.

To the staff of Mishawaka, we were overwhelmingly impressed with the beauty, efficiency and incredible vibe of your venue. Cheers to you and we look forward to many more experiences at the Mish.

Photo Gallery From The Show

www.themotet.net

www.marchfourthmarchingband.com

www.myspace.com/djmikeythunder

www.themishawaka.com