Adrian Belew Power Trio pic by Luke Awtry Photography
I had a great time seeing music last week at ArtsRiot. An artist that I have loved for years finally came back to town and I spent the entire work day bouncing off the walls, yet still put the service level in the place it needed to be for the day. I had scheduled myself to leave at 5 and was racing out the door at 5:02. The show was to start at 8 but I knew of a cool stop I could make on the way.
I did a quick turn around at home and ferociously walked downtown. I arrived at Red Square around 5:40 and listened to some lovely music as I settled in. I got the seat at the end of the bar right by the band and let my heart soar as Andriana Chobot played some magical music. She sings and plays keys and has songs that soar and was joined by Cody Sargent on drums. I let the music wash over me and fill me with joy. She gets a huge piano sound and all of the songs have lovely twists and turns and fills and are so gorgeous. I was hoping she would play until almost 7 but her time slot was 5-6 so I only caught four songs. Three of them were new to me and the one I knew, Cascade, was completely over the top. I’m so glad I finally made it out to see her again.
Andriana Chobot pic by Tim Lewis
I was running earlier than expected so thought I would head to ArtsRiot and get some food before the doors at 7 show at 8 performance. Apparently, many others thought the same thing and the wait was very long and I just gave up. I hung out for a bit then friends started to show up. I hung out with Chris and Robin Chesebro Rielly and Joe Adler and my old boss at the New Dyemensions, Robert Fuller. It was fun catching up and being kind of social. As 8pm passed there was not much sound coming from the other room so I just hung out. After a bit I walked into the performance space and Saul Zonana was just finishing his set. I only caught a couple of songs and really liked them. It was just him solo but he had a nice sound with an Adrian vibe.
Saul Zonana pic by Tim Lewis
It wasn’t too long of a wait until the Adrian Belew power trio hit the stage. He sang and played guitar and was joined by Julie Slick on bass and Tobias Ralph on drums. Both were amazing musicians and had to be to keep up with Adrian and the intense set of music. I was a bit surprised that it was a little less song focused and more of a dive into a rhythmic jam that went through lots of pieces. They started with the instrumental jam A then let it flow into Men In Helicopters for a while before it fell into Young Lions, which has that great drum riff. The played a bit of Pretty Pink Rose then let it flow into Big Electric Cat then they went into the instrumental improv of d2 and settled into One Time. They rocked Dinosaur for a bit and let it fall into Heartbeat which slid into Writing On The Wall then settled into Frame By Frame. They wrapped set 1 with Beat Box Guitar and everyone was happy.
The set break was short then they returned for a stunning set 2. For the whole show Adrian had the hugest smile on his face and at one point even got his guitar go laugh. The band launched into an instrumental jam for Venture and B. Three Of A Perfect Pair lit up the room. It flowed into a jam called B3 then fell into Neurotica. I was in heaven. They let that flow into the delicate Walking On Air then rocked hard with Ampersand. Futurevision was super cool then they rocked the place with Bowie’s Boys Keep Swinging. It flowed into Of Bow And Drum which slid into Elephant Talk. They followed with an over the top Thela Hun Gingeet and called it a night. Well, OK, what really happened was Adrian asked if they could not actually leave the stage and come back and just stay and play one more. We were fine with that. A long instrumental jam called E wrapped the night.
I said a couple of quick goodbyes then took the long but elated walk home
The following pictures are courtesy of Luke Awtry Photography
Gneiss at Red Square June 18, 2016
I had a great day of music yesterday. I began the day by writing up Friday’s epic day of music then had a little bit of time to relax before heading over to the party. I got an invite from Molly and Lauren from Rapid Fire Magazine for a party by the lake in Colchester. My evening was booked with music, but I thought I had enough time to go hang out for an hour or so. I arrived a little after five and met Paul Allison. After a bit Jamie and Anna from Cranial Perch arrived and it was nice to see them again. Gary Lane was there too and we had fun talking about music and living by the lake.
I drove home, then walked downtown and arrived a couple of minutes late for gneiss who were playing at Red Square from 7-11. I missed them the last time they were in town so I felt I really had to put in the effort to see them. Of course, I was nicely rewarded for doing so with the lovely sound of their music. With Naomi Galimidi on keys, Jesse Cowan on 5 string bass, Jacob Blodgett on drums and Johnny Meli on guitar they have an earthy organic flowing sound. The songs felt loosely structured and open to change as the mood struck. Naomi sang some of the time and both her voice and the sound of her keys sounded warm and friendly and just made me want to smile. Jesse’s bass was plucked mightily as he easily navigated each changing flow of the song. Johnny sang some of the songs and has a nice voice and his guitar playing flowed from chords to sweet leads almost effortlessly. One song they played was called ‘Bye Stander (?) and had a nice flow. One song jammed for a while then fell into For What It’s Worth. I think it was Water Is Rising that had some over the top drum work from Jake. A song with the line What A Lovely Day had a bit of an English Prog Rock feel and was a perfect sentiment for a band playing in the alley while the sun steamed down light and heat and their music flowed out into Church st. I hung out for a full set, about an hour or a little more then chatted with the band and got a CD. Yea, more music for my radio show on WBKM
Close Encounters at The Skinny Pancake June 18 2016 pic by Tim Lewis
I headed down the hill to The Skinny Pancake and right at 8:30 Close Encounters began playing on the outdoor stage. As you walk into the restaurant there is a little bit of seating to your right and a lot to the left. Just past the seating on the left they have the band set up against the building wall and this seems to be the best setup I’ve seen there. Encounters are a four-piece band with singer/electric guitar, bass, drums, and singer/keyboard player. If you drew a line between jam and indie rock Encounters would be almost exactly half way in between. A lot of the music had a nice flow to it but there was also some hard rocking. One song called Future Ladies had a bit of a disco vibe. The band sounded really good and everyone played well but the drummer was just the star of the show. He just went crazy on every song and I just loved it. They played about 45 minutes and ended with a song called Stolen which rocked hard at the end. It made me happy.
Binger at The Skinny Pancake June 18 2016 pic by Tim Lewis
Binger hit the stage at 9:30 with a groove called Now Check Your Pocket. They have such a smooth sound and mix elements of soul and rock and jazz and calypso and lively a few more, yet it sounds beautifully coherent. Shak Ear plays bass and sings and raps. Braden Winslow plays guitar and sings and raps. Dalton Muzzy just plays drums and his playing is subtle and powerful and always on target. The band mostly stuck with songs from the new album Skeptics and a few covers. If I Knew sounded great. I missed the cover song after that. Strings followed and it is such a cool song. As the set unfolded they treated us to a couple of new songs, which were really good. They tossed in covers like Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots Pt. 1 by The Flaming Lips and Breathe by Pink Floyd the latter of which sounded especially great when brought into the Binger sound. Buttonz, from the Roots In The Rabbit Hole, let Shakir really shine. Towards the end of the show they played Resurrection In Sanskrit and I’m pretty sure it was both parts 1 and 2. Either way, Braden’s guitar playing was stellar. I did not catch the name of the song that ended the 90 minute show, but like everything they do, it was a joy to experience.
After the show I said a couple of quick goodbyes and went home and collapsed. It’s been a couple of great days of seeing music and I feel so lucky to be able to put in just a little bit of effort and get so heavily rewarded.
I had fun going out to Red Square yesterday afternoon to see Everybody’s Favorite Irish Drinking Songs band. I had my radio show for the night already recorded so around quarter of 4, I took the sunny walk downtown. I walked in to a huge Tim from the stage, Ryan Ober got the same treatment when he walked in, and found a seat and a songbook. The band was made of Buck on banjo, Patrick Longley on bass, Matt Thorsen on harmonica, Matthew Stephen Perry on guitar and vocals, and the dynamic singing duo of Diane Sullivan and Rebecca Rogers. The bar was pretty full and people were singing away as the band played all of the classics. They played Danny Boy, Wild Rover, Beer Beer Beer, In Heaven There Is No Beer, Whiskey In A Jar, Jackie Wilson Said, One, and lots of other fun Irish songs. Prizes and hot potatoes were tossed to the audience. A feeling of revelry filled the air for their full two hour set. Was it the greatest musical event of my life? Probably not. Was it a fun afternoon of singing and being a part of the event? It was as fun as every other year and I expect it will be just as much fun next year. Thanks for playing everyone!
Nectar’s photo by Tim Lewis
I had a great time seeing music Friday night. I got out of work at 6 then stopped home for a quick bite of food. I knew Mountain would be on around 9:30, but had some other options before that. I finally got out the door around 8 and took a brisk walk downtown. I was debating just going to Nectar’s early to see Seth Yacovone play solo, but was leaning towards heading up to the Zen Lounge to see Small Change, a Tom Waits cover band. I’m one of the few people I know who is not really into Tom’s music, but Robert Gagnon is a really talented guitar player so I thought it would be fun to check out the band.
I was walking down Church st when I heard a band playing at Red Square. Curious, I looked to see who it was, and The High Breaks were on stage and rocking. I wandered in and grabbed a drink. The band were super tight and their surf rock sound is super cool. There was a couple dancing to the tunes and the full room really liked the band’s sound. Matthew Bryan Hagen told the usual fun stories that begin the instrumental songs. Ankle Breaker has a nice slow build until it rocks hard then eases off and builds again. Sidewinder starts with some simple riffs but as the song keeps going each member of the trio rock their instruments hard. When they announced they had one more in this set, the first of three, Matt said they would do a familiar song then said “Hit it Todd.” Todd Gevry did the shrieking laugh and called out Wipe Out and the band played a killer version of the classic. When the last note rang out, I headed out the door.
Since it was getting late, I headed right to Nectar’s. Seth Yacovone was on stage playing a song on acoustic guitar and singing with his ragged voice. As I settled in he played a song about a lady in France then played a fun song about going along on an intergalactic ride. It was pretty fun and a nice way to wrap up the set. His singing is strong and powerful and his guitar playing is just outstanding. I’m so glad I caught a couple of his songs.
After a bit of a wait, The Mountain Says No were set up and ready to go. They opened with Ricky The Rider, but something was off and it just did not gel like it should have. They slugged their way through a couple of songs, but I got a bit worried, since something was just off in the sound. Statistik was the fourth song and it was OK, but just not as glorious as usual. I think it was the fifth song where Justus began a nice drum riff and suddenly the band were locked in and sounded as perfect as always. From that point on, everything sounded great and I was ecstatic. They played a couple of new songs that I really liked and did killer versions of King Grifter and Restaurant. As they headed toward the end of the set, the time shortened and their plan to play three more turned into one more. The Bomb rocked as hard and wonderfully as always. I headed out shortly after the last note finished and took the long walk home. I was quite content.
Caught a bunch of music tonight. I started at Red Square seeing Joe Adler & Eric Segalstad play as Songs & Stringstruments. They played some pretty awesome music. Joe was on acoustic guitar and Eric switched between mandolin and electric guitar. They opened the part of the set that I saw, with Atlantic City, and a Radiohead cover. They played a couple of Joe songs, and then I headed out. If I’m the only one in the audience, did they notice me leave?
If I had known the timing, I would have hung out for a bit. As it was, I caught a few songs by Sam DuPont, and he was pretty solid. It was just him on acoustic guitar and singing. His voice was good, and his playing looked flashy and sounded simple. It was a pretty nice set
Next up Phil Yates and the Affiliates payed some complex pop that had me guessing where they would go next. Yum, make me work for it. There were a couple of songs that were good on the album, but much more fun live. It will be interesting to see them a few more times and find out if the songs start to grab me more. As it was, Could You Be the One and Pretty Girls had me happily rocking.
Up next was the Brew. They started with a simple dance groove, and I was not sure I was going to make it long. As the song weaved it’s way towards it’s conclusion it got really good. Rich Haskell appeared during the second song and they kept playing songs that really rocked. They closed with Going to California/No Quarter, and called it a night They were much better than I expected and I had a lot of fun.