Friday, January 30, 2015

Sophistafunk & Polyrhythmics 1.23.15 (Photos)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Family Funktion & The Sitar Jams' Shanghi Tour Bus

Words By J. Picard

Family Funktion & The Sitar Jams is obscure without even trying. Just by its nature, a psychedelic Indian Jazz/Jam Trio has what some would consider an uphill battle towards listenership. For this writer, it was love at first listen. Discovering the band in an upstate New York venue, that had not properly promoted their presence, I was caught off guard and taken aback by what I was hearing. Fastforward to current day and once again, though I consider myself one of, if not their biggest fan, I have discovered that the trio of brothers had released an album... Last October. Yes, under the radar and over the course of a year, the album was recorded and released without even a single post on the band's social media that is typically buzzing with dates, music and info. In fact, this may be the first article calling any attention to what may be the band's greatest release to date, Shanghi Tour Bus.

The album opens with my all time favorite Sitar Jams track, "Rajastanji Rumble." It begins with bending percussion, presumably from the oldest brother, Ravi Padmanabha. What follows is an explosion of sound with an outlying Indian riff from Naryan Padmanabha on the sitar. Ravi's Harmonium rings out in the background creating a resonating tone while Aneal Padmanaba smacks the bass with might. The instrumentation rounds what sounds like a corner towards the end, then enter the Sarangi. The breakdown is about as Indian as it gets and nothing short of fantastic! The contrasting "Waiting Room" begins with heavy meloncolly effects of a digital sort, letting the listener know that they shouldn't get too comfortable. A short time later following a quick musical brain surgery, "Dr's In" cuts through with a jazzy drumbeat that is followed by an effect-laden Sitar and bass from start to finish. A much more mellow composition comes next with "Cool Jam," a spacey, out there song that welcomes listeners to FFSJ's musical dream world. Towards the middle of the jam, Naryan leans on his SH-101 for some intense digital effects while the groove is kept from bursting into a million pieces by Aneal's bass.

"Shanghi Delight" welcomes special guests, Steve Baczkowski, David Adamczyk and Pankaj Misra and resolves back to a much more pure traditional Indian sound. The harmonium and and Sitar intertwine before the entrance of tabla and prominent Sirangi. The result is a short, but beautiful composition. The traditional vibe continues and the guests remain for the album's title track, "Shanghi Tour Bus." There is something about the sitar and Sarangi, that when pitted against some loose jazz drumming, creates a very unique sound that I have only heard come from Sitar Jams. "Nordique Man" returns to sonic chaos with reverb and echo commanding the tone. This track, more than any others, sounds the most improvised and loose until the return to the song's signature lick.

"Meet You At The Summit" enters with swagger and builds towards a metaphysical peak. Much like a story, the listener can feel the climb as facilitated by rapid tabla work, engaging sitar and sliding bass. The mid-section of the jam jumps off into blissful musical anarchy with the SH-101 making another ferocious appearence, bringing the flow to a near standstill. Space and time cease to exist as a variety of sounds collide with the listeners eardrum, before the trio begins to piece together the universe for a seamless transition into "Chilling At The Summit." The calming instrumentation meanders along, providing a near meditative musical atmosphere. Towards the middle/end, Naryan utilizes an almost Jerry Garcia like tone on the Sitar to provide a very jam-sounding section as the song approaches it conclusion and ends once again with the SH-101 dissolving into nothing.

Bass, tabla and the SH-101 welcome "Kingston," an aggressive and deviant composition that is sure to bring the listener to the edge of their seat. The tension is great and the subtle release brings the groove to the forefront for some sitar noodling that remains until the track's close. The album's end result comes in the form of "Sweet Live Evil," a downtempo song that maintains a mellow output, until things get weird about two thirds of the way through. The track, and consequently the album, end with soft drumming that makes way for a couple of final sitar strikes and bass notes. The obscurity of the music is only surpassed by the hushed, lackluster release of the album nearly three and a half months ago. Though the promotional attention to the release of the album was silent, the material itself screams of originality, virtuosity and innovation.

Listen to Shanghi Tour Bus in its entirety for free on Bandcamp!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Wood Brothers 1.24.15 (Photos)

Neptune Theatre
Seattle, WA

Photos By Scott Shrader (J. Scott Shrader Photography)

View Scott's Full Photo Gallery Here!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Pink Talking Fish 1.17.14

Quixote's True Blue
Denver, CO

Words & Photos By Brad Yeakel (Opti Mystic Outlooks)

It was Saturday night, and my crew headed out to Quixote's for the first time in a while. The familiar decor was a trigger, flooding my mind with swirling tidbits of hazy psychedelic memories. I'd spent many nights inside the walls of the last two Quixote's locations in various states of disrepair. Heading back into the back room, I was pleased to see a decent turnout for Pink Talking Fish.

I've seen PTF four times, including Friday night in Boulder's Fox Theater. This weekend was the first time I had seen the newest lineup. The overall concept was the same... a Pink Floyd, Talking Heads, Phish cover band who mixes the material together in fun configurations. What was different was the lineup.

Friday they only played one set which was largely weaved between the album Dark Side of the Moon. With two sets each night and a two night stay at Quixote's, the band was freed up to explore some other material. First set read like a dream, beginning with "I Zimbra" and transitioning into "Punch You In the Eye" and then "Another Brick in the Wall." But that wasn't where the ceaseless music ended... Straight into "Tube> Psycho Killer> Tube" before taking a breath. The somewhat rare Floyd tune "Fearless" from the album Meddle was a pleasant surprise that added some depth to the set. When it segued into "Bathtub Gin," I was grinning like the Cheshire Cat. The Talking Heads staple "What a Day that Was" stood alone before the set ending "Pigs (3 Different Ones)> Quinn the Eskimo." I felt the "Quinn" was pushing it with the Pink Talking Fish theme, but I guessed the not-so-rare Phish covers had qualified it.

Second set started into the Dark Side material, and I wondered if the show would be similar to the night before. Beside the opening "Speak to Me> Breathe," they left the DSotM material behind to touch on other works. "Possum" had some energy to it. When they dropped into "Slippery People" I was excited, but more so when they turned it into "Young Lust." I was not nearly as excited when "Lust" gave way to "Wilson." They did manage to slip "Houses in Motion" with a "Moma Dance" tease in the middle of "Wilson," which may have made it more interesting, but for the vocals. I didn't feel like anyone really did David Byrne's vocals justice. I have seen a number of bands cover the Heads, and this just didn't seem to have any effort placed on the vocal fidelity. The resolution back into "Slippery People" was smooth, but once again left me wanting stronger vocals. "Time" was on point, and "Tweezer" featured Pika's Melissa McGinley on violin for what I thought was the best part of the show. Violin added an unexpected flavor to the typical rocker. Moving from the "Tweezer" into "This Must Be the Place" the crowd was appreciative. Closing the second set with a beastly "Dogs> One of these Days> Tweeprise" punctuated the night with authority. In an unexpected move, keyboard extraordinaire Richard James started the encore alone... Floyd's "Nobody Home." The performance was jarring, beautiful, and desperately lonely. The band re-joined to play "Loving Cup" and left a tired mass heading for 13th Avenue.

As exciting as the show was, I'd be remiss if I didn't touch on the differences the lineup made. The first time I saw PTF was actually their first shows, and with the exception of Eric Gould on bass, the lineup was completely different. PTF and Particle guitarist, Ben Combe, played with an electricity, an authenticity, and a passion that really placed PTF far ahead of your average cover band. Now the electricity resides in the key playing of Richard James. While Zach and Eric were seamlessly moving between songs, the keyboards and vocals of James were focal. Dave Brunyak on guitar added the convivial vibration. With such behemoths as inspiration, Pink Talking Fish could have easily fallen short, yet has consistently delivered in every venue, lineup, or show I've seen. They've redefined the possibilities of a cover band.

Brad's Photo Gallery

Friday, January 23, 2015

Fruition & Esme Patterson 1.15.15 (Photos)

Tractor Tavern
Seattle, WA

Photos By Scott Shrader (J. Scott Shrader Photography)

View Scott's Full Gallery Here!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Malah, Technicolor Tone Factory, Greener Grounds 1.15.15

The 1up - Colfax
Denver, CO

Words By J. Picard
Photos By Jim Mimna (J. Mimna Photography)

It was just another Thursday night in Denver. Down at The 1up - Colfax, the musicians and staff got ready for an evening of jamtronica music that would extend into the early hours of the morning. With the venue in tip top shape and a handful of folks playing arcade games, The 1up opened for the evening's action. At 9:30 PM sharp, new-comers Greener Grounds took the stage to kick things off. Within the first five minutes of their set, the room went from being empty, to boasting a solid early crowd of at least seventy five. As Greener Grounds dug into their material, young fans got down to the energetic output. In the couple of months that I have been seeing this band, I have been impressed with the tightness of the music and the execution of their groove. With hints of older Particle and Disco Biscuits sounds, Greener Grounds suck in the casual jamtronica listener and provide them with crunchy instrumentation that ensures a dance party. Thursday was no different. At the conclusion of their hour long set, The 1up was buzzing with people warmed up for the evening ahead.

Technicolor Tone Factory followed with a newer incarnation of the band from their previous play at The 1up. They came out swinging with more of a rock approach to the music. The crowd was into it, as was the band, feeding off of the excitement of those near the front of the stage. The lights were ripping, courtesy of Tiberius Benson, and the sound was near perfect as Eric Guetterman and Taylor Hines had the room dialed in. As TTF ripped away on stage, I felt my phone vibrating in my pocket. I pulled it out and to my surprise the name "Oteil Burbridge" appeared on my screen. I stepped out front of the venue to take the call. On the other end of the line my favorite bass player inquired about my whereabouts and happenings. I informed him that I was at The 1up and a short time later, he was headed in our direction. I stepped back inside to enjoy a little bit more Technicolor, who was nearing the end of their set. I enjoyed what I caught and to me the band seemed more energized than previous plays.

"Man, I love Denver..." -Oteil Burbridge

Upon Oteil's arrival we headed to the greenroom where folks' eyes lit up with excitement as he came through the door. As TTF loaded out, the evening's headliner, The Malah, got situated. Prior to their set guitarist Brandon Maynard came over to show his appreciation for Oteil. It was great to see some of the younger players conversing with Oteil and recognizing that a true legend was unexpectedly in the house. My focus quickly shifted to the Galaga/Galaxian machine backstage, where I immersed myself in a handful of rounds, producing a couple of respectable scores, for a wook. A short time later The Malah took the stage to close out the evening.

The Malah is a band that I have been seeing for some time and a band that I very much enjoy. That night they continued to impress me and kept me dancing, even while I was involved in conversation or handling something that needed to be addressed. The rhythm section of Seth Fankhauser and Elliot Vaughn was extremely tight and paved the way for Brandon's melodic style. The combination of The Malah and the setting that The 1up provided was a near perfect pairing! As the evening grew later, Oteil was no where to be seen, so I assumed he had departed into the night. Carly and I found a great spot near the front of the stage and planted ourselves for several awesome tracks that included a guest saxophonist. Off to my left I noticed a gentleman getting down to the music. Sure enough it was Oteil.

"Isn't life great?" Oteil said to Carly with a smile.

It sure was. There we were at our favorite venue, dancing to some fantastic music with one of our musical idols. As the evening wound towards a close and The Malah's set concluded, they exited the stage. The crowd, including myself and Oteil, yelled for more music and a short time later they reappeared on stage.

"I think I want to play with them," Oteil said to me, turning towards the greenroom. I hustled along to catch up and ran up onto the stage to let the band know that Oteil wanted to join in on the action. They looked stunned. Seth communicated to me that their encore was arranged and you could see the catch 22 manifesting in his expression. I suggested that they perform that song quickly, then call the bass master up for a jam. Seth smiled and said "perfect!" Another tight but brief composition followed and then to the delight of The Malah and the remaining late night crowd, they called Mr. Burbridge to the stage. People went nuts and cell phones came out for a barrage of pictures and video. With smiles all around, they jumped into a solid jam that featured Oteil's heavy bass punches and a funky groove. It was an absolute pleasure to witness such a unique musical collaboration. Upon the show's conclusion the vibe in the greenroom was elevated as folks got pictures with Oteil and partied out the remainder of the night. A short time later we dropped off Oteil at his hotel and drove off into the crisp Denver evening...

Jim's Photo Gallery

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The String Cheese Incident 1.17.15 (Photos)

Yonder Mountain String Band with Jennifer Hartswick and Natalie Cressman 1.2.15

Boulder Theater
Boulder, CO

Words & Photos By Nicholas Stock (Fat Guerilla Productions)

After three nights with The String Cheese Incident we chose to end our New Year’s celebration with Yonder Mountain String Band featuring Natalie Cressman and Jennifer Hartswick. Yonder began their carousing on New Year’s Eve by themselves and for the next three days they would invite a wide variety of friends to join them onstage. For the second night, Yonder invited John Popper, Shawn Camp, Joey Porter and Dave Watts to join in. On night three after Ben wished Dave Johnston a very happy birthday, he alluded to the fact that it was ‘Ladies’ Night.’ This should hit close to home given the recent shakeup in the world of Yonder Mountain. With the departure of Jeff Austin, the band scrambled to find a suitable replacement. The two-part solution was Allie Kral and Jake Jolliff. Now there have been mixed reactions from fans, but the fact remains that YMSB 2.0 might just be a better band. Gone is the abrasiveness of Austin’s singing, which has been replaced by Allie’s delicate voice and fireball fiddle. Jake is much more reserved, however, he can rip the mandolin and his vocals are smooth. All that being said, Jeff is still out there doing his thing. Yes, it is a change, but all things considered, it may have had some unforeseen positive results for both bands. According to the bartender the attendance was a bit light compared to the two previous nights. We walked through the doors just as YMSB started a “Pass This Way” sandwich.

Set One: Pass This Way> EMD> Pass This Way, Straight Line, Son of a Gun, Landfall, If It Hadn’t Been For Love*, Kentucky Mandolin*, Don’t Worry Happy Birthday*, Corona*, Son of a Preacher Man*

Set Two: Travelin’ Prayer, Not Far Away, Amie, Blue Collar Blues> Wheel Hoss> Blue Collar Blues, Anna Lee*, Remind Me*, Lonely Town Lonely Street*, Piece Of My Heart*, Only A Northern Song*> Sidewalk Stars*> Only A Northern Song*

Encore: You Never Can Tell, I Second That Emotion*

*w/ Natalie Cressman and Jennifer Hartswick

Musically the band just feels more at ease and relaxed. Adam’s guitar was hot on “EMD.” Ben took a turn singing on a beautifully executed “Straight Line.” Ben also let it be known during the show that the new lineup was a mere six hours shy of finishing the recording of their new album. It seems pretty safe to say that Jake and Allie are in it for the long haul. “Son of a Gun” took on a dizzying pace, while “Landfall” was full of some incredible harmonizing. Yonder Mountain invited out Hartswick and Cressman in all their brass-tastic glory. They went into a bluesy rendition of Adele’s “If It Hadn’t Been For Love” with Jennifer on vocals. The rendition of Bill Monroe’s instrumental “Kentucky Mandolin” gave the ladies in the back a chance to insert their horns into the mix. In honor of Dave’s special day he sang “Don’t Worry Happy Birthday.” They closed with Natalie Cressman singing a spellbinding version of Dusty Springfield’s “Son Of A Preacher Man.” Allie joined in on the last verse as well. Her vocals continue to improve, and she is rapidly becoming the headliner we all knew she was when she was with Cornmeal.

Allie Kral got the second set started with Billy Joel’s “Travelin’ Prayer.” While Joel wrote the song, both Earl Scruggs and Dolly Parton covered the song. Dolly earned a Grammy for her recording of it in 1999. “Not Far Away” included some impeccable picking from Jake, while the version of the Pure Prairie League’s “Amie” made the fans dance. “Blue Collar Blues” stayed traditional before it exploded into a perfectly timed “Wheel Hoss.” The return to “BCB” went into an almost psychedelic breakdown that had fans speaking in tongues. Again, Hartswick and Cressman came to the stage for the Kaufman sung “Anna Lee.” “Remind Me” included some of the most extensive jamming of the night. Cressman again came to the microphone, this time with a version of Bill Withers’ “Lonely Town Lonely Street.” Hartswick matched her vocal prowess with Janis Joplin’s “Piece Of My Heart.” Again, Yonder Mountain pushed the musical boundaries between bluegrass and psychedelic rock with “Only A Northern Song” into “Sidewalk Stars” and back again. The ladies harmonized nicely on both vocals and instruments during Chuck Berry’s “You Never Can Tell,” also known as “C’est La Vie.” They closed the night with a return to Motown with a version of The Miracles’ “I Second That Emotion.” Yonder Mountain String Band is a group reborn. Their transformation may have not been under the most favorable circumstances. However, the result is one I think we can all live with. Not to mention, they seem much more open to collaboration and mixing up the dynamic musically. Case in point the entire New Year’s run seemed to be a celebration of not only the music we all love, but change as well. Nothing is forever and I think with this last trip around the sun we can all finally move forward with this new order of things. I for one wish both Jeff and YMSB the very best in 2015. Happy New Year.

Nick’s Photo Gallery

Monday, January 19, 2015

The String Cheese Incident 1.16.15 (Photos)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Dead Winter Carpenters, Deception Past, Left Coast Country 1.10.15 (Photos)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The String Cheese Incident 12.29.14 - 12.31.14

1stBank Center
Broomfield, CO

Words & Photos By Nicholas Stock (Fat Guerilla Productions)

Monday, December 29, 2014:

Right off the U.S. 36 Denver-Boulder Turnpike sits a reconstituted hockey arena that has hosted everyone from Phish to The New Kids On The Block. The 1stBank Center, once briefly known as The Odeum, has been home to The String Cheese Incident’s New Year’s festivities since 2012. That year marked the first time SCI played on NYE in Colorado in fifteen and the first time ever on the Front Range. Cheese enlisted the help of a troupe of performers to mark the occasion. They welcomed fans with a huge sign that read, “This Must Be The Place.” Various dancers, twirlers, and pranksters all dressed to the nines would be in full effect for the duration. The temperature was frost bite inducing. That meant a lot of the walk up traffic opted to stay home. Not to mention that the 29th this year fell on a Monday. That obviously didn’t deter those that traveled for the run. By the time the lights dimmed the room was barely over half full.

The lack of a sell out did little to dampen Cheese’s spirit. They opened with a seventeen minute “’Round The Wheel” that went into some trance-y territory before spinning back to the refrain.

Set One: ‘Round The Wheel, Sirens, These Waves> Djibouti Bump, Bumpin’ Reel, Outside and Inside> Dirk> Get Down On It > Dirk

Set Two: Colliding, So Far From Home> Wheel Hoss, Until the Music’s Over> It Is What It Is, You’ve Got the World, Looking Glass> Shine

Encore: Beautiful

They wasted no time continuing with a top notch “Sirens,” that could have done without the Jason Hann freestyle in my opinion. The “Bumpin’ Reel” took on biblical proportions with some impeccable fiddle work by Michael Kang.

“It is good to play in front of the home team here… You're looking good, Colorado!” – Moseley

A straight forward “Outside and Inside” started the jam that would take us to a shred heavy, Kyle sung “Dirk.” They proceeded into an amazing version of Kool and the Gang’s “Get Down On It” before returning to “Dirk” to close the set. This was the first, but not the last, time SCI would reference their String Cheese and the Gang set from last year’s Lockin’ Festival in Virginia.

Their second set began with a monumental “Colliding” again with Kyle slaying the vocals. The second set was full of strong, dance-centric jams that kept the kids moving. The highlight of the entire show was a sweet “Shine” that demonstrated some impeccable timing from the entire band. They returned with a newer song “Beautiful” sung by Mr. Kang for the encore. Overall it was a solid outing that left us all wanting more.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014:

Throughout the first night there seemed to be a theme of bookending the sets with gargantuan jams. That premise would continue throughout night two as well. The temperatures remained in the single digits again, however, more fans made the trek for the 30th than the evening prior. By show time the 1stBank Center would get to about 2/3’s full. Many bands this year decided to a run from NYE on as opposed to playing the run leading up. SCI stuck with tradition and that may have hurt their turnout a little. The second night began with a meet and greet with the band followed by a short acoustic set in the VIP area. Each year SCI pulls out all the stops for the VIP attendees. Free coat check and easy access to the bar are just a couple of the perks. Each night features an activity and a place of refuge from the rest of the venue. There was relaxed atmosphere in the room as the band members filtered inside. VIPs were given the chance to chat and get a quick picture with their favorite performer. Afterwards they made their way to the small but adequate stage in the back of the room.

Acoustic Set: Eat My Dust, Windy Mountain, Lost, Don’t Let Go

Hann and Travis alternated between a makeshift kit and a percussion rig featuring an acoustic drum box. The crowd pressed in forming a tight pocket along the nonexistent rail. For some this was a chance to see their favorite band closer than ever before. It was truly an intimate experience for the 200 or so lucky people in the room. “Windy Mountain” was an absolute treat as well. They finished up around 6:45 PM giving the VIPs ample time to secure their spot before doors opened at 7 PM. All in all it was not a bad way to start the second night. I wandered around for about an hour before setting up to take my photos in the pit. They went on around 8:40 PM with a twenty-minute plus “Best Feeling.”

Set One: Best Feeling> Restless Wind, Betray The Dark, 45th of November, Master Blaster (Jammin’)> Drums> Joyful Sound> Texas

Set Two: Valley Of A Jig, Sometimes A River, Howard> Birdland, Here To Stay, Close Your Eyes> Colorado Bluebird Sky

Encore: Freedom Jazz Dance, Little Hands

They continued ripping through the classic Cheese catalog with a flawless segue into “Restless Wind.” Prior to going into “45th of November” Kang informed the crowd they would be playing a few songs they had not performed in a while. “45th of November” is a song Kyle Hollingsworth wrote with living legend Robert Hunter who was a long time collaborator with Jerry Garcia. At the end, Kyle said, “It’s been like eleven years since we played that song.” Actually, just for clarity, the last time it was played was on 8/9/2007. I would still consider it a pretty big bust out. In fact, I happened to be in the back of the room taking some wide shots. There was a guy in front of me literally shaking with excitement over the song. I asked him about it and he told me that it was his “white whale.” SCI continued with a tight, funky version of Stevie Wonder’s “Master Blaster (Jammin’).” After a solid drum jam, Moseley got dirty on “Joyful Sound” which featured a huge detour into a song labeled “Of Floydian Persuasion” that began with a jam sounding much like Ted Nugent, but ended like the beginning of Pink Floyd’s “Shine On You Crazy Diamond.” Right as the music began to take shape they again made a u-turn and closed the set with their oeuvre to police incompetence “Texas.”

The String Cheese Incident made their way back to the stage and popped the can on an electro-funk dance party during “Valley Of The Jig.” Moseley again demonstrated his prowess on the mic with “Sometimes A River,” which acted as a nice breather for the crowd. However, the highlight of the entire show was a stellar “Howard” with some thick jams that gave way to Weather Report’s “Birdland.” They wrapped up the second set of night two with “Colorado Bluebird Sky.” This song has continued to be a vehicle for strong jams. The encore was a two-part crowd pleaser featuring Moseley’s filthy bass licks on “Freedom Jazz Dance” followed by an awe-inducing “Little Hands.” Billy took the opportunity to tell the story about the inspiration for “Little Hands.” They camped out in Moab and came upon an Anasazi encampment where they used a primitive airbrush technique to trace their hands on the walls of the cave.

The second night felt like one for the fans. The combination of the acoustic set along with their song choices made for a very enjoyable performance. All of the individual members were in sync and playing incredibly well with one another. With two down there was little to do, but wait for the main event.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014:

The lighting rig was intense the two nights leading up to New Year’s Eve. In fact, I should say "rigs" because there was not only a behemoth triangular lighting array above the stage, but another massive circle of lights above soundboard. At times it had near epilepsy inducing intensity. It set the mood well, showering the entire room with a Technicolor glow. In addition to the lights, fans noticed giant balloon filled bags along with odd-looking cocoon structures hanging from the rafters. This would all come into play for ringing in the New Year. The String Cheese Incident started promptly at 8:20 leaving a few latecomers scrambling to find their seats. This show sold out several weeks prior, leaving only pockets of space here and there at show time. They started with a beautifully smooth “Black Clouds.”

Set One: Black Clouds, Smile, Let’s Go Outside, Sweet Spot, Water> Kinky Reggae> On The Road

Set Two: Can’t Wait Another Day, Miss Brown’s Teahouse, Desert Dawn, I’m Still Here, Way Back Home> Fool In The Rain> Way Back Home> Jellyfish> Desert Dawn

Set Three: Don’t It Make You Wanna Dance, Land’s End, Glory Chords> Celebration*> Rosie, Late In The Evening, Rivertrance, This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)> Just One Story

Encore: Bollymunster, Good Times Around The Bend

*w/ Liza Oxnard

What followed was a three set throw down from Cheese worthy of a New Year’s celebration. They quickly followed up with a delicious “Smile” in front of Kyle’s call to the great outdoors, “Let’s Go Outside.” Moseley showed us the “Sweet Spot” before a bass heavy segue took us to a Kang-sung version of Bob Marley’s “Kinky Reggae.” String Cheese shut down the first set with a concise, but powerful, “On The Road.”

The second set was easily my favorite of the entire run. It had everything; new songs, old songs, a wide variety of the kind of musical acrobatics that would make Umphrey’s Mcgee jealous, not to mention Led Zeppelin. They began with Kyle’s commemoration of anticipation “Can’t Wait Another Day” followed by a textbook “Miss Brown's Teahouse.” What followed is why I fell in love with jam in the first place. It began inauspiciously with a straight “Desert Dawn” that gave way to a somewhat reserved “I’m Still Here.” Suddenly the clack of Travis’s drumsticks echoed throughout the venue. The Paul Simon-esque intro to “Way Back Home” was in full swing. Kang’s mandolin danced with Kyle’s keys magnificently. It built slowly before exploding on the refrain. The jam continued at breakneck pace before slowing to tease some Zeppelin. Except it was not a tease, it was a full on “Fool In The Rain.” The transitions were immaculate as they went back into “Way Back Home” yet again. Then came an amazing “Jellyfish.” Many including myself believed this to be the end of the set. The boys brought it all full circle with a short, but oh so sweet, “Desert Dawn.”

SCI timed the night out nicely. They returned to the stage around 11:40 PM and got the festivities flowing with Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Don’t It Make You Wanna Dance,” and it turns out it did. We’ll get to that. The “Land’s End” was truncated, but a sort of welcome to the weirdness that was about to take place. Performers dressed as lizards appeared throughout the crowd on the floor. The cocoons that hung silent suddenly broke open and butterflies emerged with large colorful wings flowing forty feet above the floor. The “Glory Chords” acted as an extended countdown culminating with a gigantic neon flower blazing to life above the stage. Confetti canyons rained paper down as the balloons gave way from their resting place. They ended the song and as is their tradition, took a minute to welcome the New Year from the stage.

“Our band has been together for over twenty years now.” –Nershi

The String Cheese Incident invited Liza Oxnard up to join in on Kool and the Gang’s Disco classic “Celebration.” Michael Travis took his turn singing Paul Simon’s “Late In The Evening.” “Rivertrance” rang out and my wife pointed out an inspired dancer in the back of the crowd on the floor. I told her to hold on a second. I made my way over to the said dancer and began busting my own move alongside. As a photographer and writer it’s not often that I get to totally let go and get down. This was an exception. Halfway through the song I looked back to see my wife and soon another friend dancing furiously. String Cheese went into the Talking Heads’ “This Must Be The Place” and we kept moving. The room exploded during the transcendental, set-closing “Just One Story.” Billy came out and challenged the audience about their lack of enthusiasm. Some fans may have misinterpreted this, but it as all in good spirit. The encore was a ridiculously crunchy “BollyMunster” followed by an appropriate “Good Times Around The Bend.”

This three-night run felt like a commemoration of all things Cheese. The String Cheese Incident has now reached that two-decade milestone. They have also continued to innovate and expand musically as a band. With a winter tour already booked and a stop at the Inaugural Colorado Up Concert, 2015 is looking like another big year for SCI. Time will tell if they decided to continue the New Year’s tradition on the Front Range as we ring in 2016. Here’s to a very happy and healthy New Year.

Nick's Night One Photo Gallery

Nick's Night Two Photo Gallery

Nick's Night Three Photo Gallery

Monday, January 12, 2015

Preview: Bill Frisell - Guitar In The Space Age 1.21.15

East High School
Denver, CO

Join us for a special homecoming of sorts for Bill Frisell at East High School in Denver, CO! Bill graduated from EHS in 1969 and was recently inducted into their EHS Angels Hall of Fame. The music from Frisell's latest Okeh release, Guitar In The Space Age, is drawn directly from his time spent on this very same auditorium stage. Bill will be joined by Greg Leisz, Tony Scherr & Kenny Wollesen! This is sure to be an evening none will soon forget!

***A portion of the proceeds for this performance go to the East High Music Scholarship Fund.***

Purchase Tickets:

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Roosevelt Collier's "Jimi Meets Funk" 1.3.15 (Photos)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Roosevelt Collier & George Porter Jr. 1.1.15 (Photos)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Yonder Mountain String Band 1.2.15 (Photos)

Boulder Theater
Boulder, CO

Photos By Kevin Hahn (Split Open & Shoot)

View Kevin's Full Photo Gallery Here!

Two Nights of Dave Watts Super Jam feat. Members of The Motet, ALO, Tea Leaf Green, Kung Fu, Steve Kimock & More 1.23 & 1.24.15

The 1up - Colfax
Denver, CO

Join us for two nights of MusicMarauders Presents: Dave Watts (The Motet) Super Jam featuring Dan Lebowitz (ALO), Reed Mathis (Tea Leaf Green), Todd Stoops (Kun Fu), Gabe Mervine (The Motet), Camille Armstrong (Steve Kimock, Bernie Worrell) and special guest Dominic Lalli (Big Gigantic) on Saturday! Support includes ATOMGA (Friday) and Chicago Afrobeat Project (Saturday) at The 1up - Colfax in Denver, CO!

Friday 1.23.15 Tickets:

Satruday 1.24.15 Tickets: