Friday, March 30, 2012

The Grant Farm: Self Titled

Words By J-man

The self-titled debut album from Grant Farm could come at no better time. With the Cherry Blossoms in full bloom, spring overtakes Colorado with warmer days and longer nights. While many younger folks turn towards electronic music and DJ's, Grant Farm reminds us what it is to create music utilizing instrumentation and well-honed skills. "I Come From The Country," seems a perfect fit to open the album, eluding to the roots of Grant Farm. The track features Keith Moseley (String Cheese Incident) on bass and Andy Thorn (Emmitt-Nershi Band) on electric banjo. The band's characteristic "Cris-co" (country/disco) sound is enough to move even the novice string music fan. The next track, "The Times Have Changed," eludes to life lessons over a bright composition, before Tyler Grant dismantles the guitar. "Engineer" starts with the tempo and feel of a train song and unfolds with some great fills and vocal harmonies.

"Tell Me, Tell Me" really gives off the country flavor that Grant Farm has built it's sound on. Moseley returns for "Green Thumb," which begins with a more blues-oriented Hendrix riff that opens up to a poppy groove. Tyler's raw vocals fit perfectly with the lyrics, music and vibe of the album, reflecting a wide range of genre-crossing material. "Funky Boulder" prompts a rockabilly structure once again, but with the flowing feel reminiscent of The Allman Brothers lead guitar work. "High Country Ladies" eases in with an airy accordion intro from Sean Foley. Chris Misner comes in on the drums with a reggae groove, once again bending genres on this unique track.

The bluegrass classic, "The Nine Pound Hammer" is morphed into a rock song and features Bill Nershi (String Cheese Incident) on guitar and Andy Thorn on the electric banjo once again. The track takes off and gets really tasty towards the end. "Nothin' Gonna Stop This Train," features solid bass-work from Adrian Engfer and soulful organ work. The album's sound changes yet again with "Headed For The Falls." This somber track seems to vary so much from the rest of the material, that it almost doesn't fit. "The Way It Ought To Be" closes out the album with bold instrumentation and phrasing. Tyler opens up one last time to make sure that the listener is aware of how much of an absolute baddass he is on the guitar.

All in all, Grant Farm is one of the most well-rounded and diverse albums that I have heard come out of the Colorado string scene in some time. It's layered with instrumental goodness and advanced technical work. Grant Farm is not your typical country music album or band. With guests like The String Cheese Incident's Bill Nershi and Keith Moseley, as well as Andy Thorn's improvisational approach, there was no doubt that the album would be interesting. Coupled with the lyrical stylings of both Tyler and Benny Galloway, Grant Farm is a clear home run.

Thank You, Earl Scruggs

Words By Chris Pandolfi (Infamous Stringdusters)

Just like that, Earl has moved on. As the music world (from NPR to Pitchfork) commemorates the endless accomplishments of this rare genius, it’s clear that we’ve lost a ‘once in a lifetime’ musical figure, and there is so much to be in awe of. But as I sit here blasting ‘Get In Line Brother’ on my home stereo, I’m just in awe of what it feels like to be a banjo player at this moment in time. It’s so heavy–sadness, celebration, gratitude, inspiration, amazement, etc. I literally have no idea what I would be doing with my life right now if it wasn’t for Earl Scruggs. It’s a powerful and humbling realization. So today I’m immersed in the beauty of his art and his influence, reveling in the joys of music and community, experiencing a newfound appreciation for what Earl’s done for me and for us all. I have always loved bluegrass and the banjo, but it’s just never looked quite like it does now.

Earl was a living legend, long revered as the most innovative, influential and genius 5-string banjo player there will ever be. Very few people, if any, have done what he did: to invent/innovate the technical style that defines an instrument (a complex one at that!) and then go on to fully realize the creative expression and beauty that this new style is capable of. It’s a process that usually takes generations of players, the accumulation of influences, a collection of minds and years of collective development. But somehow Earl tapped into the highest order of inspiration, creating a standard that defines not only an instrument but also an entire thriving genre of music. His style is the bedrock of everything that three-finger style banjo players will ever accomplish. I cannot think of another musician in any genre who’s influence is so universal on their chosen instrument.

Initially inspired by more contemporary players, I came to Scruggs later than most banjo players. Ultimately it was Ben Eldridge who told me that I had to REALLY understand Scruggs’ playing if I wanted to be a complete musician on the banjo. I don’t remember his exact words but the message was clear: whether you want to be a straight-ahead traditional player or the most progressive banjo player out there, it all comes from Earl. Of course I had ‘learned’ a good bit of Scruggs’ music, but I never really understood it.

In the creative realms, appreciation always precedes understanding. So it was then that I really started listening, and in turn appreciating. I remember going to Jon Weisberger’s home in Madison, TN, eating dinner and then listening in amazement to vintage Earl cuts from various points in his career. I can recall the deep curiosity upon hearing the banjo solo on ‘Why Don’t You Tell Me So’ from the ‘Mercury Sessions,’ my preconceptions of Earl’s style disappearing in real time. I remember buying ‘Tis Sweet To Be Remembered,’ and listening to ‘Foggy Mountain Special’ a million times on repeat with a giant question mark over my head. I was intrigued and baffled, but also totally entranced with the musical ideas and their effortless, perfect delivery. Then I started to get it, even just a tiny bit of it and I remember playing ‘Fireball Mail’ for the first time, even though I had played it a hundred times before. It was totally magical, all of it and a lifetime of learning was underway.

I am by no means an expert on Earl’s style the way some are, but elements of his playing, mostly his timing and authoritative delivery, are now the most important elements of the banjo to me. And when it’s time to play something straight ahead, his amazing lexicon of musical ideas cannot be topped and never will. It’s rich with nuance, a lifetime’s worth of hard work. The mechanics of the instrument are elusive, but somehow that perfect blueprint just showed up in his mind. Even for players with a much more modern sensibility, understanding Scruggs’ style is what puts all the ideas into context. It’s the roll, the melody, the timing, the tone. It’s perfect and it’s all Earl.

We as banjo players will always continue to innovate and evolve and Earl wouldn’t have it any other way. But the mystery of how to make beautiful music with three picks and five strings has already largely been solved. He gave us the tools, and now we celebrate him with our music. It’s unreal. It’s beautiful. Thank you Earl Scruggs. We are forever grateful.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Euforquestra: Let Us In

Words By Nicholas Stock

Dance powerhouse Euforquestra is at it again with their first live release entitled Let Us In. Comprised of recordings taken from their former home in Iowa City and Fort Collins where the band currently resides. The album consists of tracks handpicked by the members of the band. Let Us In is a great example of what I’ve come to expect seeing Euforquestra live, with songs that span the entirety of their catalog. It also contains some amazing covers thrown in for good measure. Opening with their now classic instrumental “Medicine Bow Run”, originally off their first album The Adventures Of Glen Devey, it is a spacey rendition bouncing between psychedelic funk and hard hitting breaks for the full twelve minute take. Without missing a beat the band seamlessly segues into a breezy version of The Beatles “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window” that sees some smooth guitar work form Mike Tallman while bassist Ben Soltau holds it all down.

They bring out the reggae funk with what has become one of their go to tune, “Cause A Reaction,” off their previous studio release, Soup. Featuring some severe vocal free styling from Matt Grundstad this version is impeccable, before they break it down with some of their Afro-Cuban roots on “Ochun.” Austin Zalatel and Ryan Jeter’s horns, which are truly a hallmark of Euforquestra’s sound, soar throughout the album beautifully. And then boom goes "The Events of December 11th," which details an ice storm in Iowa City.

Next up was Luta, Dança, Libertação, which is a drumming jam that shows off Adam Grasso leading the entire band on various percussion instruments. It is the first of two unreleased tracks on the album. Another stellar segue finds the title track from Soup on the other end. A ripping version of "Free" pushes the energy level into the stratosphere, but they weren’t done yet. Euforquestra finishes up Let Us In with another unreleased cut, “Instant Coffee,” and like its name suggests it is a musical shot of espresso. The entire listening experience is tight, funky, and perfectly in control, much like seeing Euforquestra live. Let Us In is a powerful example of what a live album should be. So often live albums are a rehashing of studio releases in a rumbling setting. Let Us In does everything it’s supposed to do and is a great introduction to this extraordinary band.

A Free Limited Download is Available at,

You can also stream the entire album on Spotify now.

Album Release and Initial Summer Tour Dates

3.30 Aggie Theatre | Fort Collins, CO

4.04 Waiting Room | Omaha, NE

4.05 The Cabooze | Minneapolis, MN
4.06 People's | Des Moines, IA

4.07 Gabe's | Iowa City, IA
4.08 Redstone Room | Davenport, IA
4.11 Beachland Tavern | Cleveland, OH
4.12 Ritz Theatre | Tiffin, OH

4.13 Reggies | Chicago, IL w/Chicago Afrobeat Project

4.14 Old Rock House | St. Louis, MO

4.15 The Hub | Cedar Falls, IA
5.04 Cervantes | Denver, CO  w/Juno what?! feat. Bernie Worrell 
5.05 Fox Theatre | Boulder, CO w/Juno What?!
6.01 Flagstaff Brewery | Flagstaff, AZ
6.02 Dolores River Festival | Durango, CO
6.22 Love Your Mother Earth Festival | Missoula, MT
6.23 Donkey Creek Jazz Festival | Gillette, WY
7.13-14 Camp Euforia | Lone Tree, IA (3 Sets)
8.24 Camp Barefoot Music Festival | Bartow, WV
9.15 Lake City Uncorked Wine and Music Festival | Lake City, CO

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Textiles Live at The Highland Tap 3.21.12

Highland Tap & Burger
Denver, CO

Words By J-man
Photos By Carly Marthis
Audio Recording By Ed Simon
Video By Ryan Garrett

Textiles Live at Highland Tap & Burger on March 21, 2012.

Set One: Spearhead à Jam à Spearhead, Grapplejack, Mindbank à Startin Somethin, Decepticon

Set Two: National Anthem, Sloppy Secondline > Baccarat à Sloppy Secondline, Aesthetic Hypnosis, Roads (Portishead), Twin Peaks Theme, Signed Sealed Delivered, Suga Lumps, Outro

The Highland Tap & Burger has become the home of free music on Wednesdays in Denver. Occupying most of those nights is typically The Garrett Sayers Trio, but when the GST is out if town, a house-sitter of sorts is brought in to watch over and captivate the consistent/loyal fans. Last Wednesday Pete Wall's Textiles made their debut at the Tap, bringing with them a four piece, a live painter and a plethora of gear. Excitement built as the magnitude of their production became evident. Not only was Textiles there to contribute to the session, but a whole team of videographers, photographers and audio tapers turned out to capture and hone their technical skills. On the soundboard matrix recording was Ed Simon. Filming the whole show would be Ryan Garrett and contributing multi-camera edited footage and photos were BiggerGuyProduction's Jhonette Perdue and Brian Rempel. The Tap quickly became a live studio.

The set began with a slow beat that seemed to drag on as the layers were added to the mix. Though slow talking off, when it did the music was intriguing. On the left side of the room was D-minus on what can only be describe as the control panel of a space ship. They call it "Colossus" and it's primary function is to drop phat beats. On Keys was Doug Tapia. Though never completely taking over or destroying solos, Doug's playing is extremely tasteful and bright. On the bass for the evening (possibly permanently) was John Grigsby. That evening would be my first and absolutely not the last, time I see Grigsby, as I was blown away. His command of both the electric and upright bass had my jaw on the floor. Then there was "Pistol" Pete Wall. It was enjoyable to see Pete outside of a horn section and a guest gig. That night he displayed his range and intense abilities, shredding on multiple saxes.

In the background, painter "Skaadi," composed a psychedelically fitting image of a being. The combination of the music, the lighting provided by Paul Brown and the live painting created an unique experience. The music progressed and venture though several genres including jazz, electronica, funk, psychedelic and more. Song by song the band built interesting and danceable compositions, also creating a fantastic mood.

The first set was fairly mellow outside of Pete's raging solos and a Michael Jackson sample. The set felt very chill and hip with the ambiance being featured. The second set began with an airy "National Anthem," honoring the great Radiohead. The song quickly progressed into some pretty nasty electric organ work from Doug. As the set progressed D-minus utilized some pretty obscure samples to fuel some intense jams. Pete ripped through some ridiculous melodies and solos with Grigsby attacking the bass and encouraging the other to bring it. The Highland Tap boomed with vibey goodness and sonic destruction. Towards the end, the set resolved to Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours."

Through two sets Textiles featured their range, technical abilities and elevated energy level. When featured in his own project, Pete Wall reflects the overall musical capacity of a well-trained powerhouse. The addition of John Grigsby to the mix was without a doubt essential. It is my hope that he will join the band and fuel the fire that is Textiles.

Carly Marthis' Photo Gallery

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Say Cheese: The Early Days of String Cheese

Words By Nicholas Stock

Long before Jason Hann and even Kyle Hollingsworth called themselves members of String Cheese Incident, Michael Kang, Bill Nershi, Keith Moseley and Michael Travis were slogging it out in the Rocky Mountains. Formed in the far west town of Crested Butte, what began as a series of random musical encounters, has evolved into a jam institution. Not much is really known about the early days and what is written references their light gigging and playing mountainside shows for lift tickets. In fact, while I was working as a stock footage coordinator I came across some vintage footage from CBMR and put together a short video.

In a 1998 interview with Keith, he states, “We were a four piece in the very beginning, started in Crested Butte, Colorado – where we were all ski bumming it… (We) started doing some après skis and happy hour stuff and we decided we might be able to make a career out of this if we got serious about it.” And that’s exactly what they did; over the next few years they moved from a glorified wedding band to a relentless touring machine. The main way that String Cheese set themselves up for success was by keeping artistic control over their material. By forming SCI Fidelity in 1996 and releasing their own albums they were able to keep themselves from being gobbled up by the industrial music complex, which is a trait that continues with them today. In the early days they booked their own tours, recorded their own albums and picked their own management.

Recordings from 1993 and 1995 are nonexistent on The Archive, but a few shows start showing up in 1995 after the band moved to the Boulder area. One such show is from November 12th, 1995 at the Mountain Sun Pub and Brewery. Listening to this show is like stepping into a time machine and looking at a snapshot of a band just finding its footing in the scene. Classic tracks like "Mouna Bowa" feel stripped down and much more acoustic. In fact the entire show sticks very much to SCI’s bluegrass roots, veering off into pyschadelic jam, reggae, and rock only sporadically.

String Cheese Incident Live at The Mountain Sun Pub and Brewery on November 12, 1995.

SET I: Sittin’ On Top of the World, Mauna Bowa, Bigger Isn’t Better, When Will I, Congo Square, Chili Dawg, Evangeline, Little Hands, Blackberry Blossom*, Legends, Land’s End, Happy Birthday Jessica, The Chicken**, Texas, Eat My Dust

*with the Double Diggs household of 8
**with vocal jam

“Out with the tables in with the dancers.” Bill Nershi

They take the time to talk about various songs before playing them, explaining origins and reworkings. It’s enlightening to listen back to the stories now, because many of the songs they are extrapolating on are so ingrained in the Cheese catalog. The show is very much a family affair with loose crowd noise and even a rendition of Happy Birthday for a woman named Jessica. This show also features a few sit-ins including Jaime (I assume Janover) on didgeridoo and Joe Jogerst on accordion. Travis focuses much more on the hand drum than he does currently or even when I began seeing SCI in 2001. The highlight may be Billy discussing how he wrote "Texas," based on an experience in Fredericksburg on the way to Jazz Fest. Overall this show has everything you could want for an early Incident. Of course, over the years they have developed into an electro, grass, fusion group, but it’s nice to take a step back to see where the Cheese came from and to celebrate it.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Origin of MusicMarauders

Words By J-man

"What should I name this fucking thing?" I asked myself in the midst of a joint in my Upstate, NY apartment. "It's got to be something with just 'Music'in the title. Nothing more specific than that, as we'll be covering a wide variety of genres." One more drag on the joint yielded the memory of driving down Woodward Ave. in Detroit, listening to Tribe Called Quest's Midnight Marauders. "MusicMarauders! That's it... It completely encompasses what we do in the sense the we are 'maraudering' or 'pillaging' for music," I thought as I stared out of the window at about three and a half feet of fresh Upstate snow.

First things first, the domain had to be registered. "Do I have ten dollars in my account?" I thought to myself from a position of just scraping by. Pulling out my shiny, rarely used debit card, I put it to the test and was able to secure "What's next?" I thought with little to no direction of where to go with the idea. All I could think to do was to start off with some perspective from folks who have been immersed in the scene for some time. I began with an interview with Soulive's Eric Krasno and continued on with artist like Tim Palmieri, Zach Deputy, DJ Logic, Vince Herman, Larry Keel, etc. While progressing in interviewing ability, my techniques were also improved through a couple of generous purchases from my overwhelmingly supportive parents, who sent me a handheld audio recording device. I began to feel like a true journalist.

We began submitting press/media credential requests to bands and venues with an overwhelmingly positive response. Shortly to follow, our first logo was designed, we selected a layout for our web page and started a Facebook group. Folks began to reach out to MusicMarauders which was no longer just me. It had within about a month's time become a national publication, with folks coming out of the woodwork from San Francisco to Florida to New York to the mid-west, wanting to contribute to what we were doing.

Once again, I found myself out of my element, trying to figure out how to proceed directionally and how to lay a base for our contributors. At first, it was tough to chase several of the "hippie" contributors down for content or hold them to deadlines, but one learning experience led to another and along side my good friend, Greg Molitor, we slowly began to come up with loose guidelines and expectations. Little by little our content, volume of coverage, editing and overall writing/communication ability improved and for the first time began to look like it had some potential.

Across the country we were being welcomed into venues and musical circles with open arms. At times it was a bit overwhelming. At one point pretty early on, I found myself on a couch backstage at a show at The River St. Jazz Cafe' in Wilkes Barre, PA between DJ Logic and Bernie Worrell. The increasing exponential effort that I put into MusicMarauders quickly translated into mind-blowing musical experiences for both myself and my girlfriend at the time, Birchann, who was also very passionate about music. Shows turned to festivals as we found ourselves knee deep in the live music scene. People began to say "Oh, yeah, I've heard of MusicMarauders," as we met folks from all over.

The summer of 2010 was one of the busiest/craziest of my life, living paycheck to paycheck, traveling around from festival to festival, covering the scene, networking, interviewing my idols and discovering the true potential of MusicMarauders. A chance miracle to Colorado from my best friend, Murray, forever changed my perspective of the scene and launched me into an all out focus on basing MusicMarauders out of Colorado. For a time though, the idea that began with Zach Zeidner in Ann Arbor, MI as a blog, would return to it's home state. During that time, MusicMarauders celebrated its one year anniversary with a show at The Maylen Farm, in a venue that we called The Barn. It was a wonderful night of bluegrass with The Henhouse Prowlers, friends, family and supporters.

The time in Michigan was short-lived as I met a girl by the name of Carly and moved across country to explore the possibility of a relationship with her and to tap into the Colorado music scene. We began to see music on a near nightly basis, often having to choose between multiple bands/shows. In Upstate, NY, I would see a show every two or three weeks, in Michigan I would see a show every week or two. In Colorado, there was too much music, which meant I was in the right place and needed help with coverage.

Carly fell into MusicMarauders deep. She had very limited reference of the scene through one Railroad Earth show and a brush with Phish lot. She quickly found herself discovering new/different music on a nightly basis. She fell in love with what the scene had to offer in regards to beautiful people, incredible experiences, unique music and open-mindedness. I used to get so excited watching the looks on her face and hearing her try to describe what she was feeling. She quickly became the passionate help I needed in regards to video, photography, editing, decision-making and support. I have never in my life felt so much unconditional support from one person. Without Carly, MusicMarauders wouldn't be what it is today.

Colorado opened the door for full time coverage. We began getting invited into the studio with bands and started receiving e-mails for coverage. One of the key discoveries (via Tim Carbone) in that first year was a little festival near Bond, CO on the Colorado River called, YarmonyGrass. This magical gathering of musicians and music fans has captured our hearts and has forever changed our perception of music festivals.

Over time, networking lead to new projects and partnerships, filling up the plate quickly. We began receiving questions about possible management, etc. and brushed it off as we continued to cover a plethora of incredible events. A couple of highlights of that first year in Colorado began with the opening of a relationship with Bernie Worrell, through a few wild turn of events. The story unfolded like a dream and spawned a relationship that is still in its infancy. Secondly, we came upon saxophonist, Pete Wall, who was in limbo between Whitewater Ramble, Particle, his own project Textiles and a few more options. Following a few chance meetings, we began our relationship and I consider Pete to be a good friend.

On New Years Eve 2010, my life was forever changed. I took one step into the main room of Quixote's and I melted. It was a Grateful Dead museum/mecca. It was as I had dreamt it would be... Heaven on earth for me. I knew that night that Quixote's was where I wanted to start spreading our Colorado roots! Towards the end of January another big moment in MusicMarauders history occurred with the meeting of The Motet. This wild group of talent welcomed us with open with open arms and we became friends with a lot of the members. Thankfully The Motet is one of the most consistent bands on the scene. It saves me the awkwardness of having to explain my critical reviews to a group of friends.

Some of the highlights of our first year in Colorado came with The String Cheese's "Winter Carnival," Disc Golfing with Zach Deputy and crew, Fareed Haque taking the time to do a Moog guitar demo with us, seeing moe. on the side of a mountain that was not accessible by vehicle in Breckenridge, interviewing a couple of my musical idols including Bernie Worrell and Tim Reynolds, Desert Rocks Music Festival/Arches, The Motet at Mishawa, Motet doing the music of The Talking Heads, Sonic Bloom, YarmonyGrass 2011, YMSB/RRE/ISD at Red Rocks, Burning Man, Going into the studio with The Contribution and meeting our regular contributor, Nicholas Stock.

The most recent developments of this dream came via the launch of MusicMarauders Management & Publicity, the launch of our podcast, MusicMarauders Live and some exciting developements that are currently in the works!

Our partnerships include:

Bernie Worrell, Family Funktion & The Sitar Jams, Game 7 (Kang, Magner, Wall, Gould, Pujalet), Highland Tap & Burger, LOHI Festival, Naryan Padmanabha, Particle, Pete Wall, Quixote's True Blue, Textiles

Currently, we operate MusicMarauders, we do press/media/promotions for Quixote's True Blue, we manage/handle publicity/provide booking for a handful of artists and we reside in the mecca for our scene, our home, Denver, CO! It has been a pleasure and an honor to be welcomed onto the scene with open arms. We have met some incredible people and have been apart of some truly amazing happenings. This has been a dream come true and a fantastic ever-expanding life experience for us.

Lend us your support, join us in this adventure!

MusicMarauders Management & Publicity

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Galactic & DJ Logic 3.17.12

The Ogden Theatre
Denver, CO

Words & Photos By Nicholas Stock

St. Patty’s Day, the drinkingest day of the year, was also night two of Galactic’s Paddy Gras run at The Ogden in Denver. Smeared shamrocks on the faces of the bleary-eyed patrons acted as the unofficial war paint for the evening, as the sea of green filled in for the sold out show. Shirts adorned with leprechauns, pot leafs and various shades of emerald were the informal jersey of the dance battle, which I was immediately confronted with upon entering.

DJ Logic was on stage spinning his brand of jazzy funk-infused house music while kids were break dancing on the floor. Logic is an interesting cat; he is known for sitting in with numerous bands from the John Popper Project to Widespread Panic. He gained notoriety at the inaugural Bonnaroo by performing with over a dozen artists and filled the role of the DJ at large in a big way. Logic spun for close to an hour keeping fans happy as the show got underway.

Los Angeles-based band, The Aggrolites, performing their own brand of self-proclaimed “Dirty Reggae,” was next on the bill. Elements of rock and soul find their way into the mix. They rely heavily on crowd reaction and develop an energy that is contagious. The few fans that were familiar with The Aggrolites congregated in the front as the band eased into their set. Jesse Wagner blasted out his vocals on the microphone as the audience joined in the vibe. Riff heavy songs shot out the PA like musical bullets. Having no familiarity with the band, I quickly found myself dancing and chanting along with the group. Normally The Aggrolites find themselves playing alongside bands like 311, Flogging Molly and Social Distortion, but they were a great way to get the night started. They ended their set with a powerful cover of The Beatles “Come Together.”

After a quick stage change, Galactic took their places and opened with a funky “Boban.”

SET I: Boban, Total Destruction To Your Mind, Heart of Steel, Break In The Road, Balkan Wedding, Manic Depression, Hey Na Na, Night People, Out In The Street, Bittersweet, Ha Di Ka, Shibuya, Funky Bird, Boe Money, From The Corner To The Block, Crazy Horse Mongoose, How Many More Times

ENCORE: Ash Wednesday Sunrise, Goin Down

The driving drums of Stanton Moore immediately took center stage and didn’t leave the spotlight for the rest of the evening. The man is a beast and he shows his prowess with every hit of the snare. Rebirth Brass Band’s Corey Henry on trombone was a distinctly awesome addition to Galactic’s performance. The back and forth between Henry and Ben Ellman was thrilling. Corey Glover, originally of Living Colour fame, took over vocal duties for the show. It was reminiscent of the Galactic days of yore that saw Theyrl Houseman DeClouet on the mic. The instrumental version of Hendrix’s “Manic Depression” was a highlight to be certain. Glover came back to the stage to hit it hard for a run of tunes that made up the meat of the set. The staggering crowd was treated to some classic Galactic funk with “Shibuya” and “Funky Bird” before Moore soloed on the kit for “Boe Money.” They ended the show with a stellar “How Many More Times.” They encored with a sick “Ash Wednesday Sunrise” into “Goin Down.” Galactic brings the heat when they play. They are a funky force to be reckoned with and continue to perform with an energy that is impressive to say the least. They are truly worthy of their place at the top of New Orleans exports.

Nicholas' Photo Gallery

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Galactic, ALO & DJ Logic 3.16.12

The Ogden Theatre
Denver, CO

Words & Photos By J-man

The stage was set for a celebration of music from a fantastic mix of talent! Two nights of Galactic at The Ogden Theatre would welcome a solid turn out boasting a wide variety of people! Old, young, white, black; it didn't matter, Galactic was in town.

DJ Logic:

I rotated around Logic from the floor as the venue filled in and people danced their Friday night away. His first set was fairly club-oriented and did little to interest or entice my musical palate. His second set however, as a tweener transitioning from ALO to Galactic was fantastic. Logic dug deep into his side bag of records to pull out some old school jazz, funk and soul. I found myself heavily entertained as I danced in the distance.

Animal Liberation Orchestra:

That night would mark my first time seeing ALO. From what I had heard prior, they seemed to blend alt rock with a little bit of fusion. What ALO brought that night was a straight pop-rock style set that dug deep into some intense shredding and jamtronica stylings. The band impressed with near perfect musical notation and though ALO is not a band that I had sought out prior, I found myself captivated, dancing and smiling. By the accounts of the ALO fans around me, that set was not typical of the band. They too noticed that ALO was progressing. I look forward to catching them again soon.


Galactic hit the stage to close the evening with some NOLA-style funk! They wasted no time in throwing down as their horns ripped through the material. Stanton Moore led the charge from the back of the stage, often leaping out of his seat to nail some huge chops! That evening the band was joined by Corey Glover (Living Colour) on vocals to further elevate the night!

Galactic is a powerhouse, built to last though a solid fanbase and constant energy. The incorporation of funk, hip-hop, soul and electronic samples make for a unique musical melting pot of sorts and have elevated Galactic to soaring heights. The first night was indeed a celebration, but I had a feeling that the following day, St. Patrick's Day, may even be a little a crazier.

J-man's Photo Gallery

Friday, March 23, 2012

Blind Melon 2.17.94

Roseland Ballroom
New York, NY

Words By J-man

The roar of the crowd is enough to send shivers down the spine of any Blind Melon fan and with the opening notes of "I wonder," our earthly thoughts disappear into thin air. Shannon Hoon's characteristically raspy vocals wailed, interrupted only by the sound of screaming women before the band took off. What followed was a quintisential rock show, featuring four chord rhythms intertwined with melodic oddities, intriguing hooks and lyrics that many youth could relate to directly.

Blind Melon Live at Roseland Ballroom on February 17, 1994.

Set: I Wonder, Tones of Home, Time, Holy Man, Deserted, Dear Ol' Dad, Change, No Rain, Seed to a Tree, Paper Scratcher, Walk, Candy Says

"I only wanted to be 16... and free..." Shannon said, triggering an instrumental push that rides out to the end of the song. The band immediately went into fan favorite, "Tones of Home," with Shannon's voice shinning brightly. As was the case with the first song, screaming girls could be heard from the crowd. Shannon's echoed voice prompted some wailing guitar that went into a duel part with Shannon vocally. An airy "Time" followed with some vocal improvisations from Shannon. The music isn't all that complex, but the arrangements and lyrics connect with people, as evident from the overwhelmingly receptive crowd. Then, the psychedelic aspect of Blind Melon stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the room, killing it with intense instrumentation from Rogers Stevens (Guitar) and Christopher Thorn (Guitar).

"Holy Man" came with sweet tones and high harmonies. The song eased in and dropped triggering Shannon's blunt lyrics, "Holy man, you don't understand..." Somewhere mid-song, they went into The Allman Brothers' "Midnight Rider" before returning to "Holy Man." With the songs conclusion, Shannon began to sing softly, almost to himself, as the crowd joined in clapping and took over for about twenty seconds before erupting in applause. "Deserted" took off quickly going trough some compositionally strong progressions. The sound rhythm section of Brad Smith (Bass) and Glen Graham (Drums) held down the core of the songs as wailing guitar ensued.

"Dear Ol' Dad" built and built with Shannon's vocally led lines that turned into a rowdy guitar jam. "Change" followed reminding me that as much as Blind Melon was a grungy rock band, there were aspects of their music that reflected refined mainstream potential. "Change" is one of those indicators. The combination of the acoustic guitar, mandolin and Shannon's vocals evoke a deep connection with most Blind Melon fans as these lyrics from the song appear on Shannon's tombstone.

"I know we can't all stay here forever so I want to write my words on the face of today and they'll paint it."

Drums and rock-heavy guitar and bass open up "Seed To A Tree." The vocals roamed in and out of key as they so often do, typically resolving to a tolerable tone. "Paper Scratcher" began with Shannon rambling, which seemed heavier than most shows.. The song opened up with the crowd as the vocals turned towards making complete sense.

"My mind in a mind that I have come to know and my eyes can't conceive a world that cannot grow..." Shannon sang with way more insight than most his young age. He went on to say "On the day I die, thank god my soul will be released. I've seen all your eyes and I've seen all your faces, can you tell me honestly you wanna be free? Look in my eyes, I've been lots of places, can you tell me honestly that you'd wanna be me? Honestly."

A short and sweet "Walk" was gifted to the crowd for some life insight, however, as it was quiet, it brought out excessive chatter on the recording from fucked up fans. The conversation was timely as discussions of Saturday Night Live can be heard in the young crowd. The show came to a close with the lesser-known "Candy," but ending on a good note.

It's easy to write off a band like Blind Melon on the surface. If you dig deep, if even below the cover of their hits, you will find one of the most perfect reflections of rock and roll. The raging instrumentation, the depth of their lyrics, their drug use and ultimate demise... It's all there. The above show from The Roseland Ballroom exemplifies the Blind Melon experience. Many of us never got to see the band perform with Shannon, yet we carry his truths, his insight and his music with us always.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Zach Deputy 3.15.12

Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
Denver, CO

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

The festival scene's golden boy, Zach Deputy, returned to Denver for an odd opening set slot at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom. Prior to the show we met with Zach in his greenroom for an interview/unplugged session.

Following the session I introduced Zach to Pete Wall (Textiles, Game 7) who would be sitting in on Zach's set. Shortly after the 9:00 hour, Zach took the stage to a moderate crowd. The set began with looping perfection. The production of what was coming off of the stage was fantastic. Not only was the quality great, but the fullness of what the crowd was hearing pleased them to no end. Cervantes quickly filled in with young folks dancing their asses off!

About half way through the set Pete was called to the stage to sit in on one song, however, deep down, I knew it would be more. The jam eased in with Zach laying down the layers. Then slowly, Pete came in with some tasty sax licks before dropping soprano bombs all over the adoring fans. Zach looked on smiling as if caught off guard by Pete's abilities. At the end of the song, Pete did these nasty sax screams that created an old school breakbeat vibe.

Of course, Pete remained for a second song, this time reaching for the flute as his weapon of choice. The jam began light but progressed quickly, with the highlight being a back and forth section between the duo, with Pete then utilizing the sax once again. The Denver crowd loved it and Pete smiled as he exited the stage. He came off buzzing as Zach continued with his set, eventually winding down around 11:00pm.

Through funky guitar playing, phat bass lines, beatbox and flawless vocals, Zach Deputy has created a name for himself as a one man powerhouse. There are other loopers on the scene, but none who are as tight, precise, well-rounded and entertaining as Zach Deputy.

J-man's Photo Gallery

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Say Cheese: Mishawaka 96'

October 6th, 1996
Mishawaka Amphitheatre
Bellevue, CO

Words By J-man

Excitement runs rampant at MusicMarauders, but our previous excitement pails in comparison to how we feel about our newest column. For me personally, my first psychedelic experiences revolved around SCI and I met the love of my life at String Cheese Incident's three day Red Rocks 2010 run! Cheese runs through my veins and as I try to do this column justice, I think back to the beginning of the band, to a time that seems long past...

String Cheese Incident Live at Mishawaka Amphitheatre on October 6, 1996.

Set 1: Soundcheck Jam, Wake Up, Chili Dawg, Hold What You Got, Unconditional Love, Lester Had a Coconut, Lonesome Fiddle Blues, Take A Little Time, High on a Mountain Top, Remington Ride > Mouna Bowa > I Know You Rider

Set 2: Unavailable

This show properly reflects both the quirky humor and high energy levels of the early years and provides an interesting perspective as to how the band's name came to be, or not. Unfortunately, all that is available is the first set. The recording begins with a crisp soundcheck that quickly turns into the Michael Kang (Mandolin, Fiddle) led "Wake Up." The band was originally a bluegrass/string outfit, but by the time this show occurred, though early, the transformation into a full fledged jamband had already begun. Factors like the extended length of their songs, Kyle Hollingsworth on keys and Kang's sustained ripping on the electric mandolin pointed to the direct intention of their musical expansion. The end of "Wake Up" brings the band's approval from the sound engineer and Billy Nershi (Guitar) announcing that it was his birthday (which of course, it was not) and giving a profile of himself as if for a dating service.

"Chili Dog" brought out an almost salsa groove and a bright combo of electric tones from Kang and slide guitar from Billy. The jam dug deep as modal progressions ascend and descend leaving the rhythm section of Keith Moseley (Bass) and Michael Travis (Drums, Percussion) to keep the compositions together. "Chili Dog" came to a close with minimal crowd noise and Michael Travis introducing Kang as "The best ukulele playing Chinese woman..." "Hold What You Got," tied bluegrass music back into the set once again, but with a clear jam element.

What followed can only be described as complete and utter nonsense as the story of how The String Cheese Incident got their name unfolded. The hilarity mellowed and "Unconditional Love" ensued. "Lester Had A Coconut," brought a Caribbean/Calypso feel with instrumentation oozing with bright notation, chasing each other around the stage rhythmically and melodically. "Born On The Wrong Planet" triggered a funky breakdown with Kang returning to the mic for some additional vocal contributions. Billy's delightful acoustic solo melted into Kang's electric take over and returned to Billy's funk guitar chops. The cues were met with perfection and precision, reflected by a well rehearsed band of musicians.

"Lonesome Fiddle Blues" began with an effect-laden intro that lead into what would be one of the highlights of the set. The climbing duel melodies leveled out with fantastic musicianship from Kang, followed by Billy once again sweeping up on the acoustic, before returning to Kang who had dawned a fiddle. The jam mellowed with Kyle's piano section, as well as Kang and Billy breaking through adding chops and noodling. On the drop of a dime, the progression takes off again with Kyle destroying the keys as he so often does. Eleven minutes later following an intense closing resolution, the song concluded.

"Take a Little Time" slowed the set down with an airy approach. With the song's closing Billy took to the mic, "Alright, that's it for the sensitive shit. Anyone have too much beer out there and they have to give it away? It's my birthday! Jerry, let's party! Come on buddy, lets get down! Who's got a cocktail.? Come on, there is a bar back there, I can see it!" he said while saying hello to folks in the crowd, before settling on a margarita. "And get one for Jerry too, it's his birthday! Jerry what are you drinking?"

Through all of the banter, the following section stands out to me most,"Well... people still think we're a bluegrass band... I'm not sure why," Billy said before insisting that Travis gave him a bluegrass beat and Kyle tickle the ivories. "Yeah, bluegrass. I love that shit," Billy expressed before the band went into "High on A Mountain." The song brought the set full circle with the most traditional bluegrass arrangement of the evening. It was a perfect combination of Cheese's roots/bluegrass sound combined with all of the feel and approach of a jamband.

"Ok, we're all going to take a dunk in the river at set break, are you ready for that?" Billy said, with what sounded like honest intentions and Kang chiming in to say "Billy, you'd better live up to that one."

The instrumental accordion heavy "Remington Ride" kept the energy up as Moseley stepped up for a brief bass solo. The closer of the first set is and will always be one of my favorites SCI songs, "Mouna Bowa." As I sit and listen to this recording, my mind drifts back to sitting in the middle of a field in Tennessee with thousands of happy folks. The clouds danced, turned to fractals and faded away as the sun began to set.

"Mouna Bowa" has always captured and exemplified the magic of Cheese. The beautiful fiddling of Kang, Billy's acoustic fills, Keith's bending bass, Travis' percussion and fills with Kyle's subtle tones creates what many feel is musical perfection. "Mouna Bowa" eventually transitioned into The Grateful Dead's "I Know You Rider," abruptly coming to a close after a couple of minutes to conclude the beautiful recording!

Is this the most quintessential Cheese show? Probably not. Hell, it's not even a complete recording. But the reason that I chose this show was to offer a glimpse into the band at a time when they were still building their fanbase, experimenting with new styles and paving the way for what would become a new sub-genre of music. As far as quality goes, this show is next to perfect. In regards to entertainment, the music and the banter are top notch! Enjoy this slice of Cheese history and stay tuned for all that is to come leading up to and as tour is in full effect!