Archive for the ‘Old Rock Shows’ Category
I was pretty torn about whether to go to this show. As soon as I saw it on the Metronome schedule I was pretty stunned. I know he’s a great guitar player and has influenced almost all of my favorites. I know he also plays jazz/fusion, which doesn’t do much for me, so I was torn. The decision reminded me of a long time ago when Stevie Ray Vaughn first came to Burlington. I was not into blues but was into great guitarists and everyone said he was one of the best. In the end I went and was stunned by half way into the first song. I’m still not a blues fan, but it did open my eyes a bit and I am much more accepting of that style now.
My friend Don was excited about the show and my friend Rich was on the fence. Holdsworth has played such great music with Bill Bruford, Eddie Jobson and was a member of UK for the first of two albums. With that kind of a prog rock history Rich called around 6 to see where I was at. We were both on the fence but leaning slightly towards going and just reinforced each other. He came over for a rousing game of Jeopardy with the roommates and I (which was slightly interrupted by Don calling to say he would meet us there, thank goodness for the pause button on the TV) and then it was off to the show. We parked (what is this getting a ride to shows thing?) and headed to separate ATM’s to avoid stupid bank charges. When my wallet was enriched I walked down Church st and turned the corner to Main and headed towards Metronome. There was a long line. Yea Burlington, way to turn out! We were guessing that every guitar player in the area might come to the show, but that certainly was not the case, as I did not recognize many people there. On the other hand I bet the audience was made up of a very high percentage of musicians.
Rich arrived in line with me minutes later and it slowly crept its way into Metronome. I was a bit worried as many people had tickets or confirmations and we were hoping to pay cash. We finally got to the front of the line and they happily took our $15 cash and in we went.
The room was 1/5th full of tables and then it was standing space from just in front of the soundboard to the back. The tables were full and people stood behind about half filling the club. I looked around and saw Don at a table in front with two empty chairs. I ducked in to say hi and ducked out to grab drinks for us and told Rich where we were and headed to the front row seat on Alan’s side of the stage. Don was joined at the table by the first person in line (Don was second) that turned out to be a nice guy named Pete. He was pretty big and bald and knew tons about prog and plays guitar.
We had a couple of drinks and settled in and a bit after 9 Alan and his band came out. He was playing with Chad Wackerman on drums and Earnest Tibbs on 6 string bass. As the trio began playing they sounded nice in that mellow jazz/fusion way. After a few moments my attention turned to the drums and OMG it was obvious real quick that this guy was amazing. Perfect touch, perfect bounce and the way he played, he was all over the kit in a monster drummer kind of way. The bass playing was also truly amazing as well. He tended to do a lot of high notes, which gave everything a great sound. This was cool. I’m wasn’t amazed yet but it was really good and quite nice.
Alan had been playing chords but then the song moved into a lead break and WOW. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such fast precise guitar playing. Maybe when I saw Stevie Ray Vaughn or Steve Morse, but that’s about it. He was the real deal and it was so awe-inspiring.
They wrapped up the first song and stepped into the next. It quickly became apparent that it was going to be an amazing show that I would have a hard time listening to. I like a lot more structure in songs and the looseness of his genre wasn’t something that would just take me away. I knew I wanted to be there for every moment but I would need a strategy. I listened around and then realized I could really quite enjoy the drumming on it’s own. I started to focus on that and let the bass and guitar paint the atmosphere on either side. Wow did that work. From then on when they were playing the structure of the song I went on the drum ride and when Alan played the lead I was drawn to the spectacle. Wow he is amazing. He is so fast and fluid and plays notes that most people would never imagine of hitting and contorted his hand in ways to hit notes and chords that makes my hand hurt just thinking about it!
At one point several songs in Rich got up for a return of the rental beer and then went the bar for another and talked to someone he met. He came back and said he would give up his seat for him and soon we were joined by another longhaired bearded Tim (though granted his hair is not as long as mine). We all relished the next few songs and soon it was time for the band to say goodnight. It’s funny that Alan had a microphone and all the songs were instrumental and he only used it to say hi a couple of times and introduce the band a few times.
They came back for a heavily demanded encore and played one more. One more time to watch the wizard wiggle his fingers and hear the amazing results. They cruised into the ending, said good night, left the stage and that was it. Wow!
After the show we hung out a bit as the staff dismantled the tables and most of the people left. A few hung around to see if he would come out and Don was hoping to get his copy of the first UK album signed. While waiting I saw Ornan and said hi. We chatted a bit and I introduced him to Rich and Don and he told me that one of his bands, Band X would be playing at downstairs at Nectars on Saturday. He said they were pretty rocking and doing lots of covers like Deep Purple and Yes. I asked what Yes song and he said Long Distance Runaround and they were playing it into the Fish. Cool. He then introduced me to Chad his bass player and we chatted as Don went over and met Alan and got his album memorialized.
The show was expensive at $51, and with the work situation looking like I won’t be there soon, I was pretty sure I should not spend the money. Conversely at the warehouse they have a disc of The Talking Heads live (Stop Making Sense) and I have really been enjoying it when it gets played frequently. In the end I worked overtime the Saturday before Memorial Day, and decided that money would be used for a ticket. Throwing caution to the wind I bought one, then asked Don for a ride.
The weather was predicted to be cool with a 50% chance of rain, so I put on the black and the suit coat, and brought a jacket and a raincoat too. Don and his wife Lisa stopped by to hang out for a bit then off we went. We stopped in downtown Burlington to pick up their son Alex then headed south to Shelburne.
We arrived at the museum and parked. I went to the will call tent as the others went to find a place to sit on the lawn. I wandered down the hill to a spot near the soundboard where they were set up. Cool, nice sight lines and you know the sound is going to be good there. The weather was a bit chilly but no rain. It was looking to be a good night.
After a moment or two, I realized I needed a beer, and headed to the enclosed alcohol area. I made it about 15 steps when I saw Josh Bridgman coming down the hill and at the same time to my right heard the word wombat spoken invitingly. I said hey to Josh and then hey to Rick who I have not seen for ages. Rick is such a cool guy and I only see him at classic shows, so it was nice to chat with him.
After a bit Josh and I went to get beer and chat about music. A couple of moments later a couple (Meghan and Rob) asked if we knew if Eno was going to be at the show. As David Byrne is doing all songs he worked on with Brian Eno for this tour, there were rumors that he had been appearing at some shows. Josh and I did not think it likely, but just the question provided and opening to a nice conversation between the four of us. It’s amazing how many cool people there are out there just waiting to be met.
Time seemed to float by insubstantially. The pastoral setting and impending greatness sat in harmony waiting for the show to begin. A while into our conversation someone took the stage to do announcements. After a quick chat with drummer Steve Hadeka, Josh and I headed to Don and Lisa’s blanket, and soon enough it was showtime.
It was still light out, but the band all dressed in white, and David with his white hair, stood out starkly against the stage. He made an announcement saying it was ok to take pictures with cell phones or cameras or whatever else, but politely asked that we delete any that made them look bad. Nice.
I knew the show for me was going to be a lot of uncharted territory with a few well-known favorites tossed in. As he opened with Strange Overtones, from his new album with Eno Everything that Happens will Happen Today, I tried to toss any expectation out of my mind and just listen to what was happening. The small band were exceptionally tight as they pounded out the spacey tight funk. David was on guitar and was joined by a bass player, a keyboardist, a drummer and a percussionist. There were three backing vocalists and together they made it sound great. The interpretive dancers showed up in the second song and added some fun to the evening, not that the music needed any more of it.
Everything was sounding great and though the temperature started chilly, it just stayed there, and never got cold. The next two songs showed the talent of the band and were fun, but it was song number four that really kicked things into high gear. I was not familiar with Help Me Somebody from the My Life in the Bush of Ghosts album, but live it was over the top fantastic. Yea, it was going to be a great night.
The funk kept going and the people at the front and to the left of the stage were up and dancing the whole time. About halfway into the set the unfamiliar took a back seat as they launched into the Talking Heads classic Heaven. It was so appropriate as we were all there. They followed with a couple more new ones and then hit the second highlight of the night with a stunning version of Crosseyed and Painless. It’s a great song and the version they played was outstanding. I so made the right call in going to the show.
Another new one followed and I headed to grab another beer. It’s so cool how you can see and hear so well from the beer area. They then launched into Once in a Lifetime and then kicked out an incredible Life During Wartime.
Another new one ended the set but not the night. We got a couple of encores with such songs as Take Me To the River and Burning Down the House. They then took it down a notch to end the evening on a quieter note with another new album’s title song and the band adding white tutus to their white outfits. It was great music and great fun, perfectly combined.
A feeling of bliss was over me as we walked to the car and headed home. It was about 10:45 when I got home, and returned to a place where time was again relevant.
Friday was a long hard workday, but was pretty, gorgeous, sunny and warm. I arrived home at 10 of 5 and hoped Sarah wasn’t really starting at 5. It would be a 20 minute, or more, walk down to the waterfront and, I needed to change my dusty work clothes for the black.
I had a pretty quick turnaround and was out the door by 5:10. Instead of heading downtown, I took a right on North st, crossed the avenue, and ducked down the very steep Depot st that leads to Waterfront Park. It’s so beautiful down there. I walk that way every time it seems appropriate.
I sailed along Lake st until I reached the Skinny Pancake then wandered in and got a beer. I stepped back out to the patio where she was set to play. Most of the tables were full but there was one with two chairs within inches of where she would be playing, and one small table with one chair in the back. I chose the latter ,and was a terrible call.
Sarah Blacker came out, got set up, started to play her guitar, and let loose that wonderful voice. As soon as she did, the groups of people closest to me brought the level of conversation up, and it was a challenge to listen. I forced my focus past the chatter and appreciated her singing and playing as much as I could, but much of the subtleties got lost. I suppose it was pretty much destined to happen that way. Most of the people were there to eat and talk with the music as a sideline. Periodically a loud truck would drive by and completely wipe out the sound. Being on the waterfront meant the occasional very loud boat horn would monopolize several moments.
Despite everything, she played on steady and true. The people close to her seemed a bit more into her and seemed to listen a bit closer, but even still it must have been a great challenge to her. All the way through she was professional and displayed grace. She was delightful the several times she spoke with the crowd. She played through every challenge and impressed me greatly.
The most sublime moment in the evening had to be when suddenly her vocal microphone cut out towards the end of a song. She looked around until she realized her dog Beasley had sat down on something that cut it off. She fixed it and continued on.
When 7pm finally came, she gave us one more song and called it an evening. Having seen her a few times before, and never talked to her, I pushed myself up and walked over. I sometimes get a bit shy around performers that I have a huge respect for, and the fact that she’s a stunningly beautiful woman only makes it more difficult to be coherent. I said hi and chatted for a moment while buying a copy of her album. Soon there were other people lining up to talk to her. I went back to my table and finished my beer and paid my check and really felt how tired I was. This whole week has been exhausting physically and mentally and I realized it was time to go home. I started up the hill but came back to say goodbye when she waved towards me. I again reiterated my respect and appreciation for her, OK I was pretty ineloquent but I’m getting there.
I wandered home and found that Don had indeed stopped by as he often does on a Friday. We played Jeopardy and lost to Mike. I tossed in my new Sarah Blacker cd and played it all the way through. It was so nice to be able to perfectly hear her. Hopefully soon she will be back in a more performance friendly space and I’ll be able to hear it live. Maybe then I’ll even be able to really talk to her.
After tons of people chatted through Sarah Blacker on Friday night, I was psyched for Saturday. Chat all you want when the Dirty Blondes are playing. The volume is through the roof and impossible to compete with.
This show was not on my radar and was not listed anywhere in town, including Metronome’s website. Becky sent me an e-mail saying they were going on at 8:30. Saturday evening I put on the black, added the vote dirty and vote blonde buttons, left a house full of friends, and walked downtown. Late in the evening on Friday, my ankle had stiffened up. It was not feeling it’s best Saturday, but was strong enough for the walk, and I hoped it would hold for the rocking.
I arrived on time and the room was pretty full of people. After a while I gathered that it was a 7 Days party, which explained the lack of listings. I hung out for a while until the band took the stage.
They were at top energy and volume as they lit into the set. The songs are simple crude and fast and when they explode out of the speakers, you know what rock and roll really means. Song after song they sounded great. The audience was pretty into it and people around me were dancing hard. It was fun and joyful and just a great time. They played all of my favorites from the opener of Easy Rider to the middle of the show highlight of Oh Dirty Blondes. Many practiced the classic dance move during Kung Pao. Covers for the night included Higher Ground and Paranoid. They even did the lyrically challenging Ornan’s song.
It was a night of the Dirty Blondes playing at their best. It was so much fun and I’m so glad that Becky let me know about the show. When it was done I hung out for a bit, but the place had steadily filled with new people and a dj took over. I just had to leave.
After shows for the past two days I was looking foreword to a day off. I had a pretty lazy Sunday and contemplated not going, but as the hour drew near the siren called and I slipped into the black and headed downtown.
One drink. I’ll just go and have one drink. That won’t take too much time or resources, and Sean and Caroline’s project is so easy to listen to. That will be easy enough, right?
I arrived at the fairly full ½ Lounge a little after the 7:30 published start time and they were onstage getting set up. I grabbed a drink and a seat at the end of the bar. After a bit Sean came up and asked if I could give them advice on how it sounded after they played a warm up song. Tapis Bleu began building the drone with Caroline playing a note and Sean recording it, then she plays another and another and Sean records them all into loops, which he mixes into a drone. Once established he begins playing the drum and she takes off on sax and the song is under way. The first song was pretty cool, as are all of them, but a bit loud even for me in the tiny bar. I told them so and they took it down from blisteringly loud to deliciously loud.
I sipped my drink really slow as song after song entered this cool flow of music. The sound is warm and friendly and intoxicating. The drone drifts and sparkles. The hand drum keeps a steady cohesiveness to the songs. Caroline uses the sax to define the songs and melodies. She adds the final piece of structure while driving the songs through the ocean of sound. It’s very easy to loose yourself in a world of contemplation at a Tapis Bleu show.
And that’s completely where I was for the show. My mind was adrift as the sound wrapped itself around me and filled me with a buzzing sensation. It was a delightful place to be.
While the enchanted part of my mind was enjoying it the most, the rational part got some attention as well. It was interesting to watch the evolution of this band. They have become more song oriented in the last few shows but tonight it seemed they had taken another step. There were times when Sean would pull a single part out of the drone while keeping the rest of it going and Caroline would duet with herself before Sean mixed it back in and she went off in another direction. The show is cool as hell and only getting better.
After a couple of minutes or hours I finished my drink and got another. Shortly after that they played one more and took a 5-minute break. I chatted with Kevin from Lendway for a while. They will be playing Saturday at the Monkey House with Alice Austin (with a full band, woo hoo) and Tapis Bleu. Apparently they will be releasing a new ep soon. Yea.
When Tapis returned to the stage they had two more left. The spell returned and the next few minutes regained the previous sonic bliss. It was wonderful and when they finished I was full. I skipped out the door with a quick goodbye and headed for home with a very happy and content feeling in my mind.
Yes, I know it’s jazz fest, and here I am out at folk/country/rock show. Yes, I know I’m a bit unusual. It’s funny; I love music and go out a lot. Usually during jazz fest everyone I know assumes I’ll be out for tons of jazz, when in fact I usually take that week off and relax. Well, not this year. When I was looking at the festival listings, the Tapis Bleu show, the Sarah Blacker show, and this one stood out as must sees. Oh, and just for the record I may check out some jazz Friday.
The show was set to start at 6. The timing was too tight for me but I made it out the door by 6:10 and to the show before 6:30. It was a beautiful night to walk downtown. It was sunny and reasonably warm. Church st was full of people and music emanated from everywhere. Leunigs had a band. Red Square had a band in the alley. People were jamming away in front of City Hall. The vibe was light and casual. It was a beautiful day in Burlington.
Thinking I was late I took it all in peripherally as I headed for the ½ Lounge. I arrived and found a seat at the bar next to Creston Lea and within a couple of minutes I was surprised to see Burette Douglas set up with Bill Mullins Jr. I though it would just be Burette. Cool, another combo to try. They opened with the ultra catchy Greener Grass and followed with the equally hummable Abilene. Bill’s electric quietly augmented Burette’s acoustic guitar though some of the subtlety was lost in a feedback buzz that stayed for the whole evening. Having Bill along did not seem to push the songs to the edge or anything, it really just added a fuller, lusher sound than the usual Burette solo set.
Together they jammed for a half hour or 45 minutes or so. The small and dedicated crowd was mostly friends and was augmented by various people walking by, stopping, coming in to check it out for a bit, then leaving. It was a nice vibe.
Soon enough it was the ladies turn. Alyssa, Julia and Gabby set the stage and began playing to a chatty crowd. The audience settled in a bit for the second song and off they went. Mississippi River sounded nice with the vocal harmonies ringing clear. They hit a nice groove for Blue Light Shining. One song towards the end had Julia playing single notes on the bass and holding them as Gabby harmonized with her vocal. It was really cool.
When they finished the set they asked if they should play another. I immediately said yes and they pulled out Last American Right. It was mostly just Gabby playing it on guitar and singing with Alyssa filling out the vocals but not drumming. Likewise Julia did not play bass on it, but towards the end added some really nice vocal touches. It was powerful and elegant and I was blissful.
When it was done I said hi to Julia and briefly spoke about the upcoming Alice show. She said it was fun playing with the band, they rock, and it’s sounding great. I can’t wait for Saturday.
I’ve been sort of curious about Rubblebucket Orchestra since reading about them in Seven Days a while ago. I know they are not my favorite style of music but everything about them sounded like they would put on a killer show. With that in mind I headed down to Church st Friday after work to check them out.
When I arrived the crowd stretched half way down the upper block. I went to the back to see if I could make my way foreword but the crowd was too dense. I found a spot in front of Sakura and listened for a bit. My first thought was that orchestra was the right word for them. They had a huge sound and were jamming pretty hard. The woman singer had a nice voice and I was kind of getting into them, though was a bit jostled by the constant flood of people walking by.
As soon as they finished the first song that I saw, they said they had two more, then would be back for another set. I listened and enjoyed the two, then went to the Op for a beer. The OP was pretty full and only got more full as the beer went down. It was about then that I realized I was not up for going back to the sardine can for Rubblebucket’s last set, so I went the other direction towards home. Maybe I’ll catch them for real sometime, but for that moment, the quick taste of them was pretty nice.