Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Weekend Picks: Psychedelic Furs, Bill Kirchen, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Bio Ritmo, Ultra Kings, Dismal Swamp Lords, Rocket Queens

Memorial Day weekend! If you're not leaving town or going to be at bar-b-q's all weekend and you want to see live music, you'll want to do it Friday night.


Thursday night has a couple options first, including yacht rock cover band Three Sheets to the Wind at The Broadberry. Doors open at 8, there is no opener listed. Tix are $15 in advance, $18 day of show and $35 for VIP. Here they are doing Christopher Cross' "Ride Like the Wind":



Tarrant will be with Faceship at Poe's Pub Thursday. Show will start at 9. The cover is $5. Here's Tarrant at The Camel in April:



Friday Cheers has their annual local band night this Friday. It's only $5 to get in, it looks like it will be a gorgeous evening and there is a little something for everyone musically. The headliner is internationally renowned salsa band from the RVA, Bio Ritmo. Bring your dancing shoes. If you can't move when they play, you must be dead. And I'm not kidding about world renowned. This summer they play Philly, Winston-Salem, Toulouse (France) and Istanbul. Also, on the bill are the psych/surf/garage sounds of The Milkstains and country music from Honky Tonk Heroes. So come down and join me for a beer or two (or three). I hope my leftover beer ticket from Riverrock works. Here's Bio Ritmo with "Oye Hermano":



Ashland Coffee & Tea has great honky-tonk rock guitarist Bill Kirchen and his All Texas Band. Show starts at 8, tix are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Here's his press blurb; "Get ready to be blown away by Bill’s reknowned licks!  Bill Kirchen has become widely known for the trademark big-rig guitar riffs that powered the Commander Cody hit “Hot Rod Lincoln” into the Top 10 in 1972. Since 1993, he has recorded seven critically acclaimed albums of his own that have made him one of the musical elder statesmen of today’s Americana music, which in truth was pioneered by acts like Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen back in the ‘70s." Here's Bill and his band wishing for a "Rockabilly Funeral" when they die:



Bluegrass/Americana band Jackass Flats is at The Broadberry Friday night. Doors open at 8 PM, Captain Grandpa and Faceship will open. Tix are $8 in advance, $10 day of show. Here's Jackass Flats in March 2014 doing a Pink Floyd tune:



Classic 80's band, Psychedelic Furs, are at The National on Friday. Tix are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Doors open at 7, show starts at 8 with openers Black English. Here's the Furs doing "Heartbreak Beat" from 1986:




Over at Poe's Pub Friday night, it's raw rock n' roll/surf/rockabilly/blues from The Ultra Kings (from my old stomping grounds in Lehigh Valley PA) and Dismal Swamp Lords (RVA). I know the Dismal Swamp Lords have been recording some tunes recently so they may have something new for you. Show starts at 9 and it's $5 to get in. This is gonna be a fun show with some fun bands doing straight up, no frills, good time rock n' roll. Here's The Ultra Kings:



Saturday, Hardywood is busting out their Peach Tripel, an Abbey-Style Tripel Ale refermented on peaches. Sounds rather yummy. And what better way to celebrate that beer than with all-female Guns N' Roses cover band from NYC, The Rocket Queens! The beer gets tapped at 2. Some other bands will be announced over the next couple days. Check the Hardywood site for the schedule. Here's "Nightrain" from The Rocket Queens, which was the first GNR tune I ever heard:



Don't forget that besides being Memorial Day, Monday is also Towel Day. Be a hoopy frood who always knows where his towel is.



The great Dirty Dozen Brass Band from New Orleans will be at The Broadberry Wednesday. Tix are $13 in advance, $15 at the door. Doors open at 8 and Kings open the show. Here's Dirty Dozen in Austin this year doing an amazing version of "Use Your Brain":



I'll see you at Friday Cheers, Poe's for the Ultra Kings/Dismal Swamp Lords show and maybe Hardywood Saturday. Now I'm going to go watch Dave Letterman's last show. I hope I don't cry and I hope he goes out doing something really silly.

In honor of Memorial Day and the Americans who have fought and died so we can enjoy the freedom of music and dance with our kids, here's Jason Isbell's "Dress Blues":



Tony Jordan

Late Night Pick: Farewell, Uncle Dave! Dave Letterman's Last Show

Tonight, a 35 year long relationship ends. It began the summer of 1980. I was between 6th and 7th grade when I discovered a new morning talk show that was unlike anything on in the mornings then. The David Letterman Show was full of edgy comedy unlike the talk shows built for housewives, soap operas and game shows that populated daytime TV then. Comedians like Rich Hall and Edie McClurg were part of the regulars, playing odd characters for Dave to interview. Steve Martin and Andy Kaufman would come on as guests. Small Town News and Stupid Pet Tricks were regular segments. I still remember a classic July 4th episode with Dave heading to the roof of 30 Rock to view daytime fireworks and Edie McClurg coming on to be interviewed as a housewife who made all her picnic foods red, white & blue. I woke up every morning to watch the show while I ate breakfast, real appointment TV for the summer and sometimes the only thing getting me out of bed (I was already starting to like sleeping late). But I went back to school in September and the show got canceled in October, and I wondered if I'd see Dave again, other than as the occasional guest host on the Tonight Show.

Fast forward to 1982. Dave comes back with a new show, Late Night with David Letterman. I couldn't watch it much until the summer started (it wasn't on Friday nights back then), but once the summer hit, it became regular viewing. My late night TV watching was set. Dr. Who and Monty Python from 11 PM to midnight, a little MTV or Carson until 12:30 and then back with the comedy of Uncle Dave. He brought back some bits from the old morning show, went out on the street in NYC and drove people crazy, and had lots of new comedy too. Over the next 11 years, Late Night was an essential part of my viewing, through high school summers and Friday nights (when they went five nights a week). Through college, when your study night would end at 12:30 and you'd gather in the TV room of the dorm or a friend's place to watch. After college, at least those nights when you could stay awake (had a job now) or remember to program the VCR. Memorable guests like Andy Kaufman, Crispin Glover, Harvey Pekar or Madonna when the interview teetered on the brink of breakdown and shouting and sometimes did breakdown. Bands like REM, X, Sonic Youth, and The Replacements. Comedy bits like Chris Elliott's "The Guy Under the Seats" and Marlon Brando imitation ("Bananas!"), the Velcro suit, Larry "Bud" Melman, shouting at The Today Show with a megaphone while they were live on the air, chatting with the woman in the office across the street on the phone and making her do silly things. It was awkward, weird, and hilarious. It helped form my sense of humor and love for non-sequitur comedy.

I even went to a taping of Late Night in the spring of '93. Connie Chung and Jim Kelly were guests. Connie kept bugging Dave to stay with NBC (this was during the great Late Night War to see who would take Carson's place) and Jim & Dave throwing footballs around. I remember the studio seeming much smaller than on TV.

Then it was off to CBS when NBC went with Leno (Bah!) for the Tonight Show. I went to the 5th Late Show. Can't remember the guests now but saw Midnight Oil as the musical guest and loved being in the Ed Sullivan Theater, newly remodeled for Dave. Dave held his edge for a while, angry at NBC for taking away the Tonight Show. After a while, he seemed to drift a little, as did I to Conan and Jimmy Fallon, though I came back over to Dave on a more regular basis the last few years. It was nice knowing that I could always put Dave on at 11:30 and he'd be there, like your favorite, funny, sarcastic uncle, always good for a laugh, maybe giving a you a good-humored ribbing, but with a compassion underneath so you knew he was just putting you on and he had a good heart.

But now, Uncle Dave is going away. I don't know if he'll be gone forever. He'll show up every now and then, maybe a show that's on once a week or once a month or on the Internet. A little check-in to say hello. But I'll miss knowing that he's there every night, closing your day with a smile, helping you take the world a little less seriously and making you appreciate the wonderful weirdness of life.

Farewell, Uncle Dave! Bananas!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Late Night Pick: Bob Dylan - Letterman's last musical guest

Bob Dylan will be the last musical guest on the Late Show with David Letterman tonight (CBS, 11:35 PM). Tommorrow night's Late Show, Dave's last, has no announced guests. Appropriately, Dave goes out with a legend musically, and the guests on these last few weeks of shows reflected his love of Americana music.

Dave's late night shows have, in some ways, reflected my own changing musical tastes over the years. On NBC's Late Night with David Letterman, he was the new kid on the block and got the college bands that no one else was getting or maybe that no one wanted. When Dave switched to CBS and 11:35 PM, it was during my days on commercial rock radio and the grunge/alternative explosion, so the bands were bigger, at least commerically, and now that Dave was an institution, he could get just about any band his show wanted. In the last 10 years, I've discovered alt-country and Americana and Dave's show reflected that, giving lesser known bands from those genres a showcase alongside the big acts. And now, at last, he gets not only one of the biggest names in rock history and someone who doesn't do much TV but also someone who absorbs and reflects the American music of the last 100 years. Can't go out better than that.

Also, as part of coming full circle, Dave's last guest will also be his first guest. Bill Murray appeared on the very first Late Night with David Letterman and will be on the show tonight.

Here's Bob at Woodstock '94:



And here's Tom Waits on the Late Show last week:

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Weekend Picks: Riverrock, Blues Traveler, Greensky Bluegrass, Ani DiFranco, Carbon Leaf's Ragtime Carnival, Avers, Iris DeMent, Beach Fossils

This is a crazy, busy weekend but it should be a lot of fun!

The big event is Dominion Riverrock which goes on all weekend down on Brown's Island. This combination of adventure sports (mud runs, mountain bikes, rock climbing, kayaking, slacklining, air dogs and paddleboarding) and music (see the schedule below) is always a blast. Bring the kids, bring your dog, watch the events and take in some great music. It's free to get in, too, and adult beverages and other food and drink are served. The music headliners this year are Greensky Bluegrass on Friday night, and Blues Traveler on Saturday night. Here's the full music schedule along with little Blues Traveler, the band that started the second wave of jam bands that included Phish, Widespread Panic, and Dave Matthews Band.

Friday, May 15

6:30 pm - 7:00 pm            PGrass
7:45 pm - 9:30 pm            Greensky Bluegrass

Saturday, May 16

1:00 pm - 1:45 pm            Manatree
2:15 pm - 3:00 pm            Sam Reed Syndicate
3:30 pm - 4:15 pm            Mighty Joshua and the Zion #5
4:45 pm - 5:45 pm            The Shack Band
6:15 pm - 7:15 pm            American Aquarium
7:45 pm - 9:30 pm            Blues Traveler

Sunday, May 17

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm            Houdan the Mystic
2:30 pm - 3:30 pm            The Flavor Project
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm            Major and the Monbacks





The other festival this weekend is Carbon Leaf's Ragtime Carnival at Pocahontas State Park on Friday and Saturday. You can get single day tickets (see the schedule below for prices) or a two-day pass for $35. You can also get a camping pass for the weekend, if you are so inclined. Here's the schedule along with some Carbon Leaf doing the song that gave the name to the festival.

Friday, May 15

Tickets $10.00 advance/$15 door (general admission only)
Doors 5:30pm

Main Stage
6:00pm - People's Blues of Richmond
8:15pm - Carbon Leaf (full set)

Acoustic Stage
7:30pm - Ben Daniels Band

Saturday, May 16

Tickets $25.00 advance/$30 door (general admission only)
Doors 10:45am

Main Stage
11:30am - Sons of Bill
1:00pm - Scythian
2:30pm - Red Wanting Blue
4:15pm - Jeff Daniels & the Ben Daniels Band
6:15pm - Trigger Hippy
8:15pm - Carbon Leaf (full set)

Acoustic Stage
11:00am - Carbon Leaf (acoustic set)
12:30pm - TBA
2:00pm -  Ian McFeron
3:45pm -  Marie Miller
5:30pm -  von Grey
7:30pm -  Mandolin Orange




Trongone Band will host a Riverrock after party at The Camel Friday night. Trongone Band will play their mix of originals (they'll have some new tunes ready for the show) and jam band/classic rock covers. It's $7 to get in. Doors will open at 8, music should start around 9 with openers Dalton Dash & Rooster Blood. I love when Trongone Band plays this one; the Grateful Dead's "New Speedway Boogie". Here's a great version from Gypsy Sally's in DC last Saturday night:




If you want something familiar but different, head to The National Friday night for Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox. Doors open at 7, show starts at 8 and there doesn't appear to be an opener. Tix are $20 for GA on the floor, $25 for a reserved seat in the balcony. The band became a sensation on YouTube with their versions of modern pop music done in the style of say, 20's jazz, New Orleans piano music, Motown or 60's surf music. Here they do Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance"in vintage 1920's style:



Cary St. Cafe showcases Mekong Xpress & The Get Fresh Horns on Friday night. The funk will be drippin'! That starts at 10 PM and it's FREE to get in! The Slank open the show. Here's Mekong taking you to the promised land with "Moses".



Saturday night, legendary Americana/folk singer Iris DeMent is at Tin Pan. Show starts at 8 PM and it's $35 to get in. Emmylou Harris said of Iris, "Her voice is extraordinary, there's nobody like her. Here's Iris' most famous song, "Our Town", with the aforementioned Emmylou Harris helping out on vocals:




The Southern Belles host the post-Riverrock party at The Camel on Saturday night. Tix are $7 in advance, $10 at the door. Doors open at 9, music starts at 10 with the Sam Reed Syndicate opening the show. Get there early to see Sam Reed. She's got a soulful voice that will knock you out. Here's the Belles at Rapture in C'ville last week:



Love Canon, the bluegrass band that plays hits from the '80's, will be at Broadberry Saturday night. It's $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Doors open at 8 and Notch 9 opens. Love Canon is stretching out their danger zone and will be doing a three date residency at Brooklyn Bowl in Brooklyn this summer. And they'll take you to the danger zone too:



Shack Band heads to Tobacco Company Saturday night after their appearance at Riverrock. They'll start at 9:30. Baltimore soul band, Bosley, will open the show. It'll be $10 to get in. Shack Band is right in the middle of a tour taking them from MD to GA. Here's a track from Shack Band's recent show at the US National White Water Center in Charlotte NC.




DJ to the jam band world, DJ Logic, will be at The Canal Club Saturday night. DJ Logic has played with Ratdog,, moe., String Cheese Incident, Medeski, Martin, and Wood, Warren Haynes, Mike Gordon and Stanley Jordan, but he'll be doing his own thing at this show. Tix are $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Doors open at 10 and Blaqtronic (featuring DJ Williams who isn't a DJ but is named like one) open the show and will undoubtedly join DJ Logic for some tunes.. Here's DJ Logic joining Marcus Miller at the Montreaux Jazz Festival in 2008:



Sunday, there is a free show at Hardywood with psychedelic garage pop band Avers (4:30 PM), "world circus folk" band Happy Lucky Combo (3:15 PM), and surf rock band Red Hot Lava Men (1 PM). Doors open at noon and this is a showcase for Bijou Film Center, who are a non-profit, independent art house cinema, cafe and film center coming soon to RVA's downtown arts and cultural district. There will also be beer and food trucks. Here's Avers playing "Girls with Headaches":



Righteous babe and folk singer/songwriter Ani DiFranco will be at The National on Monday night. Tix are $27.50 in advance, $30 at the door. Doors open at 7, show starts at 8 with That 1 Guy. The night before The National show, Ani will be in DC performing with The Blind Boys of Alabama at the Lincoln Theater for JusticeAid which benefits the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project and Innocence Project New Orleans. The Innocence Project works to correct and prevent the conviction of innocent people. Here's Ani in March performing for KRVB in Boise:



Alt-indie-lo-fi-pop-rock band Beach Fossils are at Strange Matter Monday night. They are the early show so you can check them out and still get home and get some sleep for work in the AM. Did I just say that? Man, I'm getting old. The doors open at 6 PM. RVA's Sleepwalkers and Clair Morgan open. It's $12 to get in. Here's the Beach Fossils' "Adversity":



And that'll do it! See you at Riverrock, Trongone Band, Hardywood and Ani DiFranco. The music never stops!

I'll leave you with this "Tribute" from Tenacious D. See if you can spot Dave Grohl.



Tony Jordan

Late Night Pick: Tom Waits

Tom Waits makes a rare TV appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman tonight (CBS, 11:35 PM) in honor of Dave's last week of shows (only 5 left!). Tom will be performing a brand new song tonight. Here's Tom's performance on the Late Show back in 2006:



This is The Word performing on Conan on Monday night:

Monday, May 11, 2015

Late Night Pick: The Word (R. Randolph, J. Medeski, N. Mississippi Allstars)

The Word, the supergroup made up of Robert Randolph (pedal steel guitar), John Medeski (organ) and the North Mississippi Allstars (Cody & Luther Dickinson and Chris Chew) are on Conan tonight at 11 PM on TBS. Diffuser recently said about The Word's new album, "Soul Food", “…the record sounds less like a church than a party. (One where they’re probably serving the world’s best barbecue.)”. From that album, here is "New Word Order":



On the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on Friday night, U2 and Jimmy donned disguises and busked at the 42nd St. subway station.


Friday, May 8, 2015

Late Night Pick: U2

Bono has recovered from his bike accident, he's back with U2 and they'll be on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon tonight (11:35 PM, NBC). They are the only guests so they'll be interviewed and I would expect more than one song. U2 will be starting their iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE tour a week from today, but they closest they are coming to Richmond is NYC. Maybe on the second leg they'll hit DC or even C'ville again. Here's an oldie but a goodie:



Here's Benjamin Booker on last night's Late Night with Seth Meyers.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Late Night Pick: Benjamin Booker

Up and coming bluesman Benjamin Booker is on Late Night with Seth Meyers tonight (NBC, 12:35 AM). Check him out if you like Jack White, Black Keys, Gary Clark Jr., oir Alabama Shakes. Here's a four song performance he did for KEXP last August:



Here's Brandi Carlile and the Avett Brothers together on Late Show with David Letterman the other night:

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Weekend Picks: Jason Isbell, Cracker, Zappa Plays Zappa, The Atkinsons, Interpol, Speedy Ortiz, Surfer Blood, Jukebox the Ghost, Kaiser Chiefs

Grunge influenced band Speedy Ortiz kicks off the weekend at Strange Matter Thursday night. Doors open at 8, tix are $12 in advance, $14 day of show. Krill, Teen Death, and Candy Spots open the show. Speedy will be opening up some shows for Wilco this summer. Here's their latest single, "The Graduates":




New wave/post-punk band Interpol is at The National Thursday. Doors open at 7, show starts at 8 with Algiers. Tix are $25 in advance, $28 day of show. This will be the first night of their tour so they should be tanned, rested and ready to go. Here they are at Coachella this year doing "Slow Hands", which are not to be confused with jazz hands.



Friday evening is the show I circled when the Friday Cheers calendar came out. Jason Isbell, formerly of Drive-By Truckers and now making excellent solo albums, is the headliner. Jason was the big winner at last year's Americana Music Awards, taking home awards for Artist of the Year, Song of the Year ("Cover Me Up"), and Album of the Year ("Southeastern"). He's got a new album coming out in July so we should hear some new tunes Friday night, too. It's $10 to get in and the show starts at 6:30 with Horsehead. Here's Jason and his wife, Amanda Shires, doing "Cover Me Up":



And as an added bonus, here they are doing Warren Zevon's "Mutineer" on the Late Show with David Letterman with Mickey Raphael, Willie Nelson's harmonica player:



And, what the hell, this guy's so good, here's one more that he did with the Drive-By Truckers about The Band's Rick Danko and Richard Manuel. This one always gives me the chills,


And my night will continue Friday when I head over to The Broadberry to see alt-country-rock-indie band Cracker. Tix are $15 in advance, $18 at the door. They've got a new double album out called "Berkeley to Bakersfield", one album their alt-punk-rock side (Berkeley), one album their Americana side (Bakersfield). Here's Cracker doing "Waited My Whole Life" at KSPN in Aspen on Valentine's Day this year, after a brief interview.



Saturday at The Camel, indie power pop band, Surfer Blood, perform for your pleasure. Tix are $12 in advance, $14 at the door. Doors open at 7:30, show starts at 8:30 with Manatree and Garrett Whitlow & Mitchel Latimer (from Sideways Orange) opening. Surfer Blood has a new album out "1000 Palms". Besides the usual ways to get the album, you can get the album on cassette. That's right. Good old trusty cassettes. I need to bust my Walkman out. Here's a track from that new album called "I Can't Explain" (not a Who cover):




Zappa Plays Zappa is at The National on Saturday. Tix are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Doors open at 7, show starts at 8, no opener. ZPZ is the fabulous guitarist Dweezil Zappa and his excellent band playing the music of Dweezil's dad, Frank. This tour they are celebrating the 40th anniversary of Frank's album, "One Size Fits All" by playing that album in it's entirety along with a lot more famous Frank music. Here they are from a few days ago on Yahoo Live doing "Dancin' Fool" > "Muffin Man". Awesome. Watching this may have just clinched my going to the show. Listen to Dweezil's solo on "Muffin Man". Incredible.



The Bush League plays the blues at Capital Ale House RVA Music Hall on Saturday night. Doors open at 8, show starts at 9. Tix are $7 in advance, $10 day of show. They'll be celebrating the release of their new album, "Didn't See This Coming". They'll also be playing at the Carolina Blues Festival in Greensboro on 5/16. Here they are with "Hick Up Your Heels":





Looking for a nice way to spend Mother's Day evening with your mom who likes Americana music? Head to Forest Hill Park Sunday evening for a FREE show with The Atkinsons. That will start at 6 PM. This seems like a fine way to end the weekend and put off thinking about work for a few more hours. Here they are playing "Her Mind's On Other Things" at Hardywood last month:



Sunday, indie-alternative-pop-rock trio, Jukebox the Ghost, is at Broadberry . Tix are $14 in advance, $16 at the door. Doors open at 7, show starts at 8 with openers Trillions and Lost Lander. You might dig Jukebox the Ghost if you like Ben Folds, They Might Be Giants, Imagine Dragons, Fun., or Ingrid Michaelson. Here's "Postcard" from Jukebox the Ghost's self-titled latest album:



Indie-power pop-new wave band, Kaiser Chiefs, are at The National on Sunday night. Tix are $20 in advance, $23 at the door. Doors open at 7, show starts at 8 with openers Priory. You might dig Kaiser Chiefs is you like Roxy Music, The Clash, Blur, The Jam, Dexy's Midnight Runners, XTC, Madness, Bloc Party, Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian, or Franz Ferdinand. I really like this song from Kaiser Chiefs which I could see starting a riot, "I Predict a Riot":



Hope to see you at Jason Isbell, Cracker, Zappa Plays Zappa, or The Atkinsons. This is gonna be a great music weekend!

I'll leave you with one from Drive-By Truckers. It's "World of Hurt". The last verse was hitting me strong when I listened to the album it's from "Blessing & a Curse" tonight.



Tony Jordan

Monday, May 4, 2015

Late Night Pick: Brandi Carlile & The Avett Brothers

Only 16 days until Dave Letterman's last show! And he's going to go out with a bang as evidenced by this show. President Barack Obama and Will Ferrell will be the guests and the music performance will team singer/songwriter Brandi Carlile with Americana folk band, The Avett Brothers on tonight's Late Show (CBS, 11:35 PM). Brandi also got to sing with one of her idols, Elvis Costello, recently. Here's the Avett Brothers full set at Bonnaroo in 2014:



Shakey Graves got sick and didn't make it to Friday Cheers last week. But here he is last Wednesday on Late Night with Seth Meyers: