Sunday, November 29, 2009
First of all, we somehow managed to get amazing seats. I guess livephish.com (check it! they're cool!) loves us? Basically we were 25 feet away from the stage with a great view - first row of the side section. Most excellent. The only issue I had with our location was the sound quality - although not as horrible as some may claim it to be (ahem, father), it was still discombobulated and unbalanced where we were. Bummer.
Our view from the seats -
I think the sets themselves made up for the lack of coherent sound quality. We started off the night with a driving 'AC/DC Bag', always a crowd pleaser and riles up the crowd. The 'Bouncing Around the Room' halfway through the first set was awesome, and with it came a hearty prelude to a glowstick war that followed later that night.. Remember how I was talking about how Phish's new stuff is kind of commercialized, a-quirky (not a word but I'm using it anyways) kind of music? With 'Light' to finish off the first set, I have to admit - I stand corrected. It was very jammed out, very cool - something I hadn't entirely expected.
Although the first set was well-played, it was the second set that grabbed me (but isn't it always?).
'My Friend My Friend' kicked off the set; always a rousing jam. I had never seen that one live before. But the ultimate winning combo of the night was 'Fluffhead' > 'Piper'.. WOW. Maybe I say that so emphatically because those are two of my favorite Phish tunes, and to see them live let alone together was mind-blowing. I swear, I felt tears in my eyes when I heard the opening riff to Piper. It was a spiritual moment.
I have to say Mike really held those two together. Not like the other guys were off the ball or anything (they weren't), but the bassline really keeps the groove going, allowing Trey to peer up into the abyss of the concert hall and explore, like he's translating some order from a higher power lurking up there in the rafters. And that's the beauty of this band.
The Bayne family being, well, the Baynes.
The other notable jam that night was 'Harry Hood'. As soon as the incoming bass line was plunked down, I knew it was time to get to business.
Closing the set was 'The Squirming Coil,' which only proved how much of a deity Page really is on the keys. That outro.. Wow. Eat your heart out, Mozart.
The encore was a cover of Jimi's famous "Fire," a rockin' way to end the night. But I've gotta admit, I was pretty stunned into amazement by TSC and never landed..
Watch out for another update coming your way soon!
peace, love, and baby alpaca hand-stitched non-shrink hoodies,
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
A Christmas Music Preview - Preview, if you will.
by Elizabeth Bayne '10
Red & White Staff Writer
Monday, November 9, 2009
And more importantly, I miss going to shows.
I blame my education. Going away to such an oppressive (read: busy) school is so preventative of my jam band mojo.. It's rediculous.
That hasn't stopped me from reviewing, per se.. The problem is I just don't have any new shows to talk about! I have been writing for my school newspaper about jam bands, but I do more of an overview of bands rather than a review of specific shows.. it's not the same!
HOWEVER. I am thrilled to report that I sucessfully sniped tickets to two nights of Phish in Albany over my Thanksgiving break (is there anything else to be thankful of? I think not.) I'll have lots of new material in the near future!
I've gotta say, I haven't really been into the jam scene these past few months as much as I would like to be.. Indie tunes have caught my eye, and I finally learned who the heck Notorious BIG is! I blame living with 350 teenagers for my growing tendency towards the mainstream.
I want to kick it with the hippies.
Christmas music is entirely appropriate for any time of the year,
PS! Here's the most recent review I did for my school newspaper.. I covered the McLovins, but due to time constraints, I stole a little bit from my previous review of 'Conundrum'.. you can't win em all, I guess. But anyways!
The McLovins- An Overview
by Elizabeth Bayne '10
Red & White Staff Writer
There’s no doubt you’ve heard of the explosive craze within the jam band world for the group Phish. And perhaps you’ll even know of the infamous (and oftentimes uncomfortable) tension issued between the diehard Phish Phans and Deadheads. So was I surprised to hear faint riffs of the complex Phish tune ‘You Enjoy Myself’ drifting through the ocean breeze on the grounds of the Gathering of the Vibes this summer? Bet on it. (The Vibes is a four-day festival dedicated to the loving memory to Jerry Garcia, the lead guitarist for the Grateful Dead). My immediate speculation as to the source of the music was that some barefoot, sunbathing, peace-loving hippie decided to blast it out of his car stereo. Upon sleuthing the campground I came upon its legitimate source –The McLovins, a high school trio hailing from West Hartford, Connecticut.
While my anecdote may prove unnecessary to some, I must disagree; it is entirely relevant in order to illustrate the monstrosity of this band’s sound. There’s this fusion of jazzy riffs and mind-blowing jams that’s vastly unlike the stuff on the radio today. What really impresses me is the fact that the guitarist of a mere fourteen years can eerily replicate the likes of Trey Anastasio and Neil Young.
He’s fourteen. A freshman in high school this fall. As for the other members, they are both sixteen, juniors.
The McLovin’s debut album, titled ‘Conundrum,’ is such a win. It is inspired by the boys’ favorite novel, The Phantom Tollbooth by Norman Juster. The two favorite songs off the album are album-titled ‘Conundrum’ as well as ‘Sea of Wisdom’.
‘Sea of Wisdom’ is worth mentioning especially in conjunction with the overlying theme of the Phantom Tollbooth. There’s sort of a laid back vibe for most of the song, complete with soothing imagery all relating to the water. The lyrics give a sense of security to the listener, like they are trying to impart that knowledge is continuous and flowing, like water, but not threatening or hard to find, which, if one is familiar with the novel, happens to be a recurring theme throughout. A great bass line starts about a minute in that picks up as the tempo changes into something faster for maybe more than a minute at the close as well.
And, of course, there’s ‘Conundrum’: jazzy, a real standout. I venture to assert that it’s much more intricate than most of the other songs on the album. There’s the element of having multiple repeated parts throughout the song that makes it seem much more refined. I especially love the tenacious bass line about two and a half minutes in.
The McLovins’ structural style to their music is a lot like that of Phish, but in more of a subtle way. There are a few different parts or interludes to their music, which becomes apparent upon listening to ‘Dynne’, the sixth song on the album. There’s a lot going on in this song, like how the guitar will switch from some serious shredding to a relaxed vibe on the drop of a dime. That’s talent.
Another new favorite is ‘Virtual Circle’, which was debuted after the ‘Conundrum’ was dropped. There’s this exchange of the vocal line between the drummer, Jake, and the bassist, Jason, which switches into this jazzy, heavy jam from the guitar with bouncing drums and a driving bass line for backup.
These kids are not your average high schoolers wielding a clarinet for an art credit. There’s some serious passion, musicianship, and dedication going into their stuff. Jamtopia.com says their album embodies “a cornucopia of musical genres” which “melts your face then gives you a minute to recover before melting it again.” Need I say more?
So, without further adieu, consider this the official Elizabeth stamp of approval.
Up next on the agenda? Two days in Albany this November for Phish. Anyone else going?
Friday, October 9, 2009
disco sometimes doesn't suck,
Elizabeth Bayne ’10
Red & White Staff Writer
Are you a closeted bluegrass junkie? Perhaps someone who digs funk? Or do complex, introspective ballads turn you on? Well then, friends, The Ryan Montbleau Band may become a staple on SG iPods far and wide.
I experienced the RMB for the first time at a music festival over a year ago and ever since, they have surpassed any and all of my expectations. I will be the first to admit it – I’m hooked.
Montbleau went to college for English, and believe me, it shows. His lyrics are pure poetry. Each song tells a story. Every word means something. A personal favorite, “Love and Love Lost,” recounts how a young friend loses a love interest and as a result is “lost, like patience on Friday, like a star behind the moon, burning and beautiful but looked at too soon.”
Another song describes Montbleau’s experience working as a substitute teacher to support himself in the early days his music career. He sings about signing “an autograph at nighttime and a bathroom pass by day.” While the RMB can certainly tell an effective sob story, there is an expansive portion of his repertoire that leaves room for fun: a crowd favorite is an ode to America’s favorite breakfast food – eggs.
Montbleau continues to amaze and impress throughout his stage career with his gift of being able to shift gears on the drop of a dime. He glides through difficult transitions with ease, such as creating an intimate ambiance at the utterance of the last few lines of a ballad, then diving into a happy, bouncy ragtime song that has the whole audience grinning and singing along. That’s real talent.
As the Folk Art and Music Exchange puts it, Montbleau “very rapidly grows on you, if you can go beyond the standard and the formulaic.” So what’s magical about this guy? My answer? His sound.
There is nothing cookie-cutter about this band from their repertoire to their showcased “acoustic-driven, bluegrass-infused lyrical and musical range, which [is sung] with some western-twang and solid doses of funky R&B,” as described by WERS, a popular radio station located in Boston.
Still doesn’t grab you? Try taking the song “Grain of Sand” out for a spin. I personally guarantee those five minutes spent are not five minutes wasted.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
So I uploaded Phish's newest album, Joy, to my iPod this week, and I must say, it's getting quite a bit of mileage already.
Generally I'm not a huge fan of Phish's studio work, only because it's so computerized and almost too perfect.
I am growing on the music, but mostly because of the lyrics. They're more personalized this time around, and more (dare I say it?) generic. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Phish. I would go as far as to say they are my favorite band.
In fact, the reason I love Phish is because their music is unlike anything else. There are unique elements to their stuff that most bands just simply don't embody. Structurally, vocally..
When considering a jam band's repertoire, it always seems to me that there are (what I have unofficially termed) "first set songs." Songs that never really go anywhere, that never have any great jams. Songs that don't stand out. Songs during the first set.
By no means am I asserting that all songs played during the first set are in fact First Set Songs, however. I am merely pointing out the fact that songs like these exist in the jam band world. (Example: Casey Jones from the Grateful Dead, as opposed to something like Dark Star.)
And guess what? All of the stuff on Phish's new album seem suspiciously like First Set Songs.
Maybe it's because it's a studio album...
Or maybe it's because they ARE.
I think the recent summer tour reaffirms my position. I never heard one new song that was jammed out like something from their pre-hiatus days (think Ghost, Piper, even something like Chalkdust Torture).
And my other issue with their new album? It's generic. There's an intro, verse one, verse two, a chorus, a bridge, verse three, etc. My point? Anyone could be writing this stuff. Where are the new Guyutes? Harpuas? Harry Hoods?? Not only structurally, but lyrically as well. I want to hear about sleeping monkeys, big black furry creatures, mockingbirds! Zany things.
Any band can write lyrics like the ones on this album, but only Phish can describe a fat sweaty bulldog with grace and musicianship.
I mentioned earlier that the tunes grabbed me (such as 'Joy' and 'Stealing Time') because of their lyrics. Personally, I think lyrics should be secondary to the instrumentation (obviously the mainstream music industry these days does not particularly concur), especially with a band with such musicianship like Phish. So the way I see it, it's almost a bad thing that it was the lyrics that kept me coming back to those songs for more. (It must be noted, however, that 'Time Turns Elastic' is more structurally similar than others.)
So the verdict? Catchy stuff, but it just doesn't have a place in my heart.. At least not in the Phish category.
People come and go, but music is perpetual.
much love, E-Major
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
So I managed to wrangle the McLovin's first album, titled 'Conundrum,' from my dad today for a long car ride. So I sat and I really listened. I mean really listened. Kind of internalized the music.
So here is my, unbiased (we're friends on facebook..its a big deal), complete, in-depth, honest opinion of the album:
The more I tune in to their stuff, the more I'm liking these guys. Definitely my favorite track on the album at the moment is Bri (In Memory Of). When I heard it for perhaps the third time today, it really clicked. Knowing a vague backstory and inspiration for the music made it that much better. From what I've heard, it's about a friend of the trio who has passed on.
And just listening to it and thinking, okay, these sections of the music are like stages, like each of the pieces of that whirlwind of emotion that accompanies the passing of a friend, well articulated and lain out. It made sense to me at that point.
'Sea of Wisdom' is worth mentioning too, especially in conjunction with the continuous theme of the Phantom Tollbooth throughout the album. There's sort of a laid back vibe for most of the song, complete with some good imagery all relating to the water. The lyrics give a sense of security to the listener, like they're trying to get the message across that knowledge is continuous and flowing, like water, but not threatening nor hard to find. There's also a great bass line starting about a minute in that only picks up as the tempo changes into something faster for maybe more than a minute at the close.
I began to notice while I was listening to this album is that the McLovins' structural style to their music is a lot like that of Phish, but in more of a subtle way. There are a few different parts or interludes to their music, which became apparent when listening to 'Dynne', the sixth song on the album. There's a lot going on in this song... Good things. Like how the guitar will switch from some serious shredding to a chill vibe on the drop of a dime. That's talent.
'Rhyme & Reason' is an ode to the aforementioned mythical princesses. The song is almost cut into two different vibes. The first is very laid back, and lots of mellifluous lyric choices. The second part is severely reminiscent of the Phish's 'Sparkle,' a very upbeat ditty.
So. Personal interpretation: the first part of the song is for the Princess of Reason, and the second half is for Rhyme. Knowing the book quite well, Reason is the one of the two sisters who needs to be persuaded into something. She is logical. The final picture of the first half of the song is a beautiful image all around, lyrics, licks, everything. There are words. Persuasions.
A swift drumbeat introduces us to the second part, our tribute to Rhyme. From what I can recall she is the crazier sister, the one who will spring for anything if it sounds like a good time, which fits perfectly for the upbeat guitar. The two sisters balance each other, not unlike the two segments of the song.
And, of course, there's 'Conundrum', Jazzy, a real standout. I venture to assert that it's much more intricate than most of the other songs on the album. There's the element of having multiple repeated parts throughout the song that makes it seem much more refined. I especially love the bassline about two and a half minutes in. (I'm a sucker for the bass.. Mike Gordon fall tour!)
Everyone knows how I love the ukalale. Heck, I posted four videos of Jake Shimabukuro in one entry! I couldn't resist... So upon hearing 'Please Refund These Sleeping Pills,' I instantly dubbed it a favorite. Although it is more of a bonus track, it's definitely worth a listen (or a few!). We have a pleasant surprise with a switch on the vocals from Jake to Jason, and an interesting combo with a rhythm acoustic guitar with ukalale. It always puts a smile on my face.
In fact I like it so much, here's another ukalale video for you all:
Consider this the Elizabeth stamp of approval.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
I headed off to the big city on a Thursday afternoon in high spirits and with higher hopes of a great (and always stylin!) night. After a half of an hour playing wild goose chase with an elusive Chinese place on third avenue (I'm beginning to suspect it doesn't even exist), I was not in the best of physical condition, even in my stylin ankle boots. In fact, because of my stylin ankle boots. So it would make sense that I was psyched to get on the boat, perhaps take a brief respite? All good stuff.
So there we (as in, my bestie Caroline and I.. for all intensive purposes, she will be referred to as Dr. Cizzle from now on.. only because it's fantastic. and no, she is not aware of this.... yet.) were, walking up to this ferry, snapping pictures like there was no tomorrow. As we boarded, a man who looked strangely familiar approached us. Like, very familiar, but I just couldn't place him... until he asked if we wanted to work the merchandise table for the night! Then it clicked: it was James from the band (not the band, The Band, but.... oh dear.). So anyways.
We got all set up at the merch table by Larry the viola player and watched the show from there. Not a shabby gig, I must say.. we got freebies on any stuff we wanted (although I already owned everything on the table.... I'm not sure if that is a good or bad thing) and made lots of new friends!
Dana and SATURDAY (and Dr. Cizzle and me!), the schizofrenic purple monkey marionette that Dana was kind enough to lend us for a while!
As for the show itself, it seemed as if there was nothing particularly standout at the time (except for a great cover of Bend Down Low and She Blinded Me With Science.. both crowd favorites!), I have been tuning in to the recording of the show, and it's actually quite stellar. The sound quality is amazing- almost like a studio recording. A great setlist and (as always) great musicianship. After listening to the show a few times, LIDS, Chariot, and Eggs are the favorites. I have a feeling I'm presenting a bias, though...
jamming to Eggs
So check it out yourself! The archive is really the way to go on this one.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Friday was the first official day of our (ph)amily vacation, and what better way to kick it off than at a Phish show? So we moseyed our way up to Sully's Pub on a sunny afternoon to hear the McLovins play a two hour show to kick off the festivities that would continue for another twelve hours.
And what a twelve hours it was... The McLovins did great covers of Tweezer and Shakedown Street as well as a few originals during the first set. My two favorites are Bri (In Memory Of) and a new one which, if I remember correctly, is called Virtuous Circle. That one's all about trading lyrics and a nice fast pace. Now that I think about it, the music and the title work together well. Can we get more of that one soon, boys?
Backwards Down the Number Line, a recent addition to the Phish repertoire (which, on a side note, I have begun to think of as a favorable one), opened the second set and lots of dancing was definitely in order over the next hour or so. We got free bubbles!The cool thing is, I got to chat with the band and their manager (a parent, but it's still cool) for a few minutes at the Phish show; we spotted them hanging out by the merch counter and went over to hang for a while. I hinted at maybe a McLovintastic Spring Dance Weekend '10? I'll work on it.
Getting chummy with the band
Tailgating in the parking lot before Phish
Phish, the main event. In one word? Phantastic. Such a great set list, including Colonel Forbin's Ascent into Fly Famous Mockingbird, Icculus, and Psycho Killer (Talking Heads), all songs that haven't graced the stage for at least nine years each. It was very very very cool. Personal favorites of the night (excluding ones already listed) include Punch You in the Eye (show opener), I Didn't Know, Ghost, Piper, and, of course, YEM... I just remembered I liked everything. So basically the whole show. :)
Here's the set list:
Hartford Meadows, 8/14/09 8:00pm
Punch You In The Eye
Colonel Forbin's Ascent
Fly Famous Mockingbird
Birds of a Feather
I Didn't Know
Middle of the Road
Down With Disease
Slave to the Traffic Light
Water in the Sky
You Enjoy Myself
E: While My Guitar Gently Weeps
With a setlist like this, there's not really much you can do other than bask in the awesomeness. So here's sort of an inkling of what said awesomeness entailed.....
Fun, fun fun. Can't wait till next time.
As for more blogging adventures, I'm going into the city to see the Ryan Montbleau Band play on a cruise around Manhattan this Thursday night. It won't be long until we reunite, old chaps.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
And this music? Seriously GOOD.
I caught the tail end of Snehasish Mozumdermmm & Som, and was intrigued to find myself in a state of somewhat hypnosis after a short twenty minutes. There was a heavy Indian vibe happening up there, complete with a double-necked mandolin. To add a modern jazz element into the music, there was a synthesizer and a guy who switched off between the soprano sax and the flute.
What I began to notice after a few minutes was the structure of the music. It may have been because I was gearing up for Phish the next night (! more on this later), but their music seemed to be structurally similar, trading heavy riffs and light interludes and lots of different sections to the songs.
As for sound, there was a lot of flute/soprano sax solos- very fast and furious, lots of slurred, Jethro Tull-esque sound quality. I caught myself thinking that I would love to get some of this guy's music on my iPod, but would I see them live again? Only if the winds of fortune and coincidence blew my way.
This is the only music I could find of his on the internet, but I would check it out, albeit the fact that it is a myspace:
Jake Shimabukuro was the second set, a native of Honolulu who played the ukalale like no other. Before plucking a single note, Jake stood up and announced to the crowd that he was greatly influenced by his two heros- Bruce Lee and Van Halen (cue the mental groans from elizabeth). But once he started playing, I came to terms that maybe a ukalale inspired by Van Halen isn't such a bad thing- there was so much passion in every song, every stroke and pick of a string.
What really intrigued me about this guy is the way he could imitate the style of other instruments and genres, while still able to capture a unique vibe and sound (mostly due to his medium, I suppose). I was able to find a few of his tunes on youtube to share with you all, including some of my favorites of the night:
"Blue Roses Falling," which captured such beauty and imagery in my mind, prompted by the title alone.
"Let's Dance" Flamenco-inspired goodness
"While My Guitar Gently Weeps" self-explanitory. He ended the set with this one and Ave Maria.
None of his songs have lyrics, but I find the music doesn't need them. The ukalale has a strong voice and speaks for itself. I could definitely conjure images and emotions though the music, no words needed.
As for Derek? What more can be said about their sound than soul-lurchin, foot-stompin, guitar-shreddin blues. But not just blues you say? No kids, it's much more. In fact, the Derek Trucks Band is the first band I, in my youth, that intrigued me because I couldn't put a label on it. Was it world music? Blues? Gospel, even? Funk? World? Or just plain groovy? My attempts to figure out just what they were about took me many shows, recordings, and albums to mull through. And the final result? Undecided. Although Derek Trucks was the lead guitarist for the Allman Brothers, he lends his talent to a more funktastic vibe on his own.
Highlights of this show included This Sky and Joyful Noise, both tracks that I have loved for years, and will for years to come. Truly beautiful stuff. I actually found a recording of the show I was at on youtube with good quality.. enjoy my friends.
So adieu, loves. Until next time..
Saturday, August 8, 2009
The sole reason I will be doing the hour-and-a-half drive to check them out? I bought tickets to the Phish show that evening.
So two awesome bands in one day?
Peace, love, and quinoa,
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
I have a new show in the works! Thursday night, August 13, I'll be at a Derek Trucks Band show! I haven't seen them in ages- I'm so excited. They're going to be at the Damrosch Park Bandshell, a.k.a. some venue I've never heard of before in the city. But still!
Also on the playbill are Snehasish Mozumder & Som and Jake Shimabukuro.. I've never heard of them but here's the low-down of all three artists from the website:
Three exploratory string virtuosos expand the boundaries of their instruments. Classical and jazz fusion’s Snehasish Mozumder’s double-neck mandolin is at the center of a band that swings it North Indian style. Hawaiian ukelele maverick Jake Shimabukuro’s extraordinary facility is mesmerizing at any speed. The Derek Trucks Band’s namesake slide guitarist, a member of The Allman Brothers’ extended clan, rocks the blues the modern way, blending jazz, Latin, East Indian, and other global influences.
I actually tuned into Snehasish Mozumder & Som's myspace page.. Their recordings are pretty cool. But the real (and most important) question still stands: what are they like live?
And with that, I leave you.
May the wind always be swift below your wings and the grass green below your feet.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Ryan was scheduled to play at 2:30 on an outdoor stage, so when it started pouring around 1, I thought we (meaning dear ol' Papa Bayne and I) could sport our (always stylish!) heavy-duty boots and tough it out. When the thunder started to roll in, we hoped for the best, although with dampened spirits (hah!).
We managed to get in touch with our new friend Kevin, the guy who was in charge of the music at the festival- he was under a huge blue umbrella talking frantically through a radio to the other coordinators. We immediately bonded over the fact that neither of us have taken off our Vibes bracelets yet! After a few minutes of his of communication with various artists scheduled to play, other volunteers working the fair, and a few restaurants, the plan was set: The Black Bear Saloon was going to hold the rest of the bands for the day! Whew.
After wandering SoNo in the pouring rain for a bit, we meandered back to the Black Bear to wait for Ryan to start when we saw a blue van with Massachusetts plates pull up to the curb.. It was him! We called over to him, and this is the best part: he remembered talking to us last weekend at the Vibes! So cool. We chatted for a minute or two, and then he hauled his guitar and equipment into the restaurant.
His set was great, although brief. It almost seems to me like it was Ryan's Greatest Hits- no jamming or anything. But then again, how could you jam while doing a solo acoustic show? A beat has to be kept. Anyway, so I sipped coffee and jotted down the setlist as it came and went. It was good just to hear him play live, even though the show wasn't as entirely interesting as I had hoped. In fact, I had never seen him do an acoustic show before Sunday, although I've listened to many..
So after Ryan's set (he even came up to our table to say bye! I told him I'd see him in three weeks on a Manhattan cruise- excited for that), this three-man band came on the stage. There was an acoustic guitar, a singer, and a drum setup that consisted of one drum and one cymbal. They said they were from Brooklyn (like The Pimps of Joytime! Maybe they're friends!) and called themselves the Dorie Colangelo Band. They played for about thirty minutes or so, and in the end I scored a free CD! Niiiiice. I haven't actually listened to it yet, but I fully intend to after I wear out my new CSN disk... (became obsessed with them after seeing the band at the Vibes!)
Dorie Colangelo's sound is mellow, with lots of pretty harmonies. If I had to give it a genre, I would say it's a soft rock-tinged folk kind of group. Basically it's singer-songwriter stuff. I think the sound flows very well, and it's carried by her very pretty alto voice. At the end of her set, the singer (I think they said her name is Jamie?) and Dorie switched places- Jamie took over the guitar and the main mic. It was evident she is a singer/songwriter too, but her sound was different than Dorie's: there was a heavier beat, it kind of pushed through the song more. She also had a higher and clearer voice. In sum, Dorie's voice is way cooler, but I almost liked Jamie's writing better.. I'm going to have to listen to her CD and compare it to her set.
So a band I didn't catch at the Vibes? PJ Pacifico. Fortunately I made up for my loss and saw them for the first time at the bar, and I have to say.. I was impressed. So impressed, in fact, that I shelled out ten bucks (ok, dad did) for their newest CD at the end of their set. (For the record, the CD doesn't do them justice to what they can do live.)
So they had a full band setup, with two guitars (the frontman PJ on an acoustic, and an electric), a bass, keyboard/synthesizer, a drumset, and a violin/fiddle. Very interesting. They opened up with a Beatles tune- I Want To Hold Your Hand. It was nice, very mellow, with just an electric rhythm guitar, some acoustic, vocals, and a bit of the violin. In all, very cool.
What is interesting about this band is that although there's a full band set up, the sound of the acoustic guitar doesn't get lost no matter what else is playing. It leads everything else instead- a nice touch.
The violin/fiddle (she was picking it like a guitar for a few tunes!) is also another interesting addition to the sound of the band. There are definitely some roots in country music that can be picked up on some of the solos she completely WAILED out. SO sick.
In all, I would tend to say that the songs themselves groove, but are poetic as well. I picked up on sort of a melancholy, reflective vibe for a few tunes, but all the same very beautiful and fun. I will definitely definitely definitely! check them out again.
When I turned on the CD I bought, the songs were.. average. The violin was missing, and it sounded more like some a generic soft pop tunes than the band I saw the other night. Bummer, they really are fun live.
The next show that's coming my way? Phish in Hartford, CT. I'm bringing a friend along for the ride too! Can't wait.
Maybe I'll write notes on a napkin again? :D
Sunday, August 2, 2009
I arrived at the Vibes on Sunday morning with a smile on my face and a piece of gluten-free bread in my pocket. I caught the last 15 or 20 minutes of The Harlem Gospel Choir, and I honestly wish I had seen more of them. The crowd was quite a sight to see: hippies with dreds stomping their feet and clapping their hands while singing Praise the Lord! During the last number, probably thirty of them held hands and skipped around, forming the biggest random outburst of joy I've ever seen. Very cool.
If they're ever around again (they should be, they're close- only from Harlem!), I will definitely make it a point to go see them. Sometimes your soul needs some good old gospel music.
I had never seen nor heard Grace Potter and the Nocturnals before their afternoon set at the Vibes, but I can say I will be checking them out again. Grace has got such a kick-ass voice, and it seemed to me that she was certainly the star of the show (hence the name of the band?). The Nocturnals provided a platform for her to frolic around stage between her keyboard, guitars (acoustic and electric), tambourine, and the mic. And she was hilarious while doing it! Pretty impressive, if you ask me. I happened to see her parents at the Mad River Valley 4th of July Parade this summer in Vermont. Her dad was playing the keyboard and singing while on a float! Wild. Anyways, the bottom line? She's definitely worth (ahem) checking out.
As for my favorite Green Vibes Stage artist of the day? The McLovins. Yes, the McLovins. And they're as young as their name portrays them to be! Before I go into any of the details, here is the saga of how I discovered them: Once upon a time, I was hanging out by the seashore during the Buddy Guy set, grabbing some dinner. As I was eating, I hear a very familiar tune drifting over to me: You Enjoy Myself, or lovingly referred to as YEM by Phisheads. So I said, "Oh wow, I didn't know someone would have the audacity to blast Phish out of their tent at the Gathering of the Vibes! ...I wonder if it's coming from the Green Stage?" The reply? (and this is ver batim): "No, that's too good a YEM to be coming from there." But how we were sorely mistaken. After dinner we wandered over to the stage to check out the scene, and the McLovins were up there, jamming out! I grooved to the rest of the set (unfortunately we only caught the end of it). The McLovins. Bask in the glory. And that is how they came to be.
These guys are a three-man band, with one guitar, one bass, and one drumset. And get this: the guitarist just got out of middle school! The other two members are highschoolers! These guys are prodigies, and they're going to be big news someday. So as far as that's concerned: I CALLED IT!
That's all for this espionage for now. I am in for a treat tomorrow, Ryan Montbleau is playing a solo acoustic set at the South Norwalk Arts Festival! How coincidental, I live about 20 minutes away. If anyone is looking for some entertainment tomorrow (or should I say today?) afternoon, definitely check out his act. He's playing at 2:30 on one of the stages they have set up (its the one near the Porta Potties!). Simply can't wait.
Crosby, Stills, and Nash:
The Healing Shaman was walking around all weekend:
Friday, July 31, 2009
In fact, the Ryan Montbleau Band is the first band of the day that is worth commenting on. First off, he's my favorite. Plain and simple. What's great about the RMB is that there are so many facets of the band and its sound to admire. Ryan is a poet, a storyteller. The songs that he writes are always heartfelt. Raw emotion comes through his music.
The band's sound in general is hard to coin - I would describe it as some sort of a mixture between folk, bluegrass, funk, gypsy and reggae. Yeah. You've gotta check these guys out. I'm posting a link at the end of this. Click it!
Anyways, Saturday was a great day to see Ryan. There was sunshine, dancing, and great music. Is there any better way to just be? He opened up his set with a real eye-opener, his song Chariot - solo acoustic. It was beautiful, and really caught people off guard. What's this guy doing alone on a stage with just a guitar and a mic? Where's the band? Where's the funk? What a beautiful way to open it all up, and show the audience a different side of Ryan than is normally portrayed at the Vibes (which would be, as I mentioned, the funky, sunshine-loving folk/reggae).
Another noteworthy song he did (full band) was Grain of Sand. The guy put a whole poem into the song as an interlude. It was like a vocal jam session. So cool.
I had tried to describe the greatness that is the Ryan Montbleau Band to one of my friends, and I finally managed to get her to see them live this weekend! At the end of the set, she turned to me and simply said: I'm in love. Welcome to the family.
Here's the set he did at the Vibes this year, check out Chariot, Inspired By No One, and Stretch for starters.
Here's a few pictures of Ryan's set:
That's an electric viola, kids:
The other band I wanted to bring into attention is The Pimps of Joytime. Yes, The Pimps. I happened upon them while noshing on probably my fifth bag of those handy little pistachio sample packages at the Green Vibes Stage, a separate stage run completely on solar power that features lesser-known bands that are on the rise.
This was my immediate reaction upon hearing them: CAROLINE, PUT DOWN YOUR PISTACHIOS. WE'RE GROOVING. BIG TIME.
And we did.
We even bought their CD at the end of their set, we loved them so much. I would describe their sound as some sort of dance-funk (my own term!) because it's funk that just makes you want to dance your face off. So good. Here's their link: http://www.myspace.com/pimpsofjoytime
Favorites off "High Steppin" (the album I bought) include My Gold, Bonita, and Workin' all the Time. Check them out!!!
Those were definitely the highlights of the day for this vibetriber. I ended the night with a nice cuddle sesh somewhere amidst the smelly hippies. It's not too often you get to chill in Bridgeport on a Saturday night at 1 in the morning and not get killed, so take it for what it's worth.
oh ps. favorite hippie of the day: