Thursday, October 25, 2007

Franti's kids, JT in Hell, Punks Love the Dead, Vegoose, Thunderbirds, Go-Go

Good evening! Let's begin by opening up the mailbag. We had a report from Beth S. on the Michael Franti show which took place on 10/11 at Toad's: "Michael Franti was amazing. I got to shake his hand while he was on stage and then after his performance he came down and hugged his fans...I'd be one of them! :o) I even got his guitar pick! One of the pics that you'll see, he got a little boy up on stage and let him sing "Light Up Ya Lighter." That was something I will never forget, what an awesome little dude to know the words to such a deep song!"

Here is the pic of the little dude with Franti and another shot from the show courtesy of Beth:
If you get a chance, check out the "Michael Franti & Spearhead: Live in Sydney" DVD for a good taste of his show. I got to watch it recently courtesy of a free Starz preview weekend. Little Willie and I danced around while watching it and he seemed to enjoy it as I know you will.

I also received an email from Mike L. letting me know that James Taylor was playing a Genworth benefit in Richmond. I knew this was going on but deliberately omitted it because I find JT as exciting as a limp wet noodle. I recognize his talent but want no part of it. I also believe there is a special place in hell where his version of "Mockingbird" with his then wife, Carly Simon, plays on an endless loop. To spend some time in my hell and see some bad white people dancing, you can check this out:

My dislike for JT stems from my first semester freshman year college roommate, Todd. Todd was the whitest of white bread boys from Greenwich CT. Even other white boys from Greenwich CT thought Todd was incredibly bland. So I show up for freshman year with long hair playing The Cult, Led Zep and the Stones. Todd shows up with three CDs and plays the same three CDs all the time. I am not exaggerating. He really only listened to three CDs. Those CDs were "James Taylor's Greatest Hits", Meat Loaf's "Bat Out of Hell", and "Simon & Garfunkel's Greatest Hits". I learned to despise all of them. I have come to love Paul Simon's solo stuff and while I like S&G, I don't really go looking for it. "Bat Out Of Hell" has also moved to OK, mainly due to drunken rail dancing to "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" at Phi Psi's parties. But JT, well, I still have to change that radio station immediately if he rears his ugly little bald head. I'll listen to just about anything once, but JT makes my list of people/bands who I must change immediately or run screaming from the room if they come on. The others on the list: Journey, Celine Dion, Aerosmith's "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing", "The Electric Slide" and anything by anyone associated with American Idol.

Moving onto happier things, check out a great article from Crawdaddy, "Are You Grateful For the Dead?" about a self-confessed angry punk's coversion from hating the Dead to having her "inner hippie find the courage to come stumbling into the daylight." This a good read whether or not you look the Dead as the author mentions a number of musicians who you may be surprised to find out are Deadheads.

On Saturday (starting at 12:45 PM) and Sunday (starting at 1:15 PM) you can check out the webcast from Vegoose, the concert the Bonarroo people put on in Vegas this weekend. Here is the link: Never really know who they will play and they tape delay some people so they have continuous music but artists at Vegoose include Iggy Pop & The Stooges, Rage Against The Machine, the aforementioned Michael Franti & Spearhead, moe., Public Enemy, Cypress Hill, Queens of the Stone Age, Robert Randolph, and others. I love these webcasts because you get to discover some bands you may not have discovered and also see if they can bring it live. And you don't have to pay $150 and stand out in the Vegas heat. Not that I would mind.

If you want to see live music, head to Toad's on Friday night for The Fabulous Thunderbirds, playing their brand of Texas blues. Doors at 7:30, Show at 8:30. Its an all ages show and tix are $22 or $30 for Gold Circle (Booo, Gold Circle!).

If you want to dance your booty off, check out the Godfather of Go-Go, Chuck Brown at Toad's on Saturday night. This is an all ages show, doors at 8, show at 9, $25 in advance, $30 day of show.

If you want to eat haggis and see large men in skirts throwing telephone poles, see the Highland Games & Celtic Festival out at the Raceway Complex. Tix are $19 and kids under 10 are free.

Here is what's going on at the Capital Ale House Downtown. Band descriptions are theirs, not mine.

Back Alley Hoodoo, Friday, October 26, 5:00pm for Free. Together since late 2006, Back Alley Hoodoo is focused on bringing a natural sound and old school style to Richmond's Blues scene. Delta, Texas, Chicago, and even West Coast Jump all played roles in the formative years of Hoodoo's members, and today they bring it all home with a vengeance.

NrG Krysys, Friday, October 26, Doors open at 9:00, $7.00. Don’t miss the live sweatbox sounds of Richmond’s NRG Krysys. Their ’60s and ’70s soul and funk grooves have been steaming up the dance floors of clubs, restaurants, and private parties around town since the summer of 2001. Members Coby “Deep C” Batty, John “J Lo” Gotschalk, Kevin “Special K” Pittman, Armistead “Full Force” Wellford, Stephen “SuperSoul” McCarthy, and Todd “Bad Biggie T” Woodson comprise a Richmond “supergroup” of sorts as veterans of local and nationally known bands such as Love Tractor, The Fugs, Jayhawks, Long Ryders, Gutterball, The Red Hot Lava Men, The Skychiefs, The Nocturnes, and The Henry Mancini Orchestra, among others. And remember… no parking on the dance floor.

Jimmies Chicken Shack, Saturday, October 27, Doors open at 9:00, $7.00 in advance, $10.00 day of show. One gig is all you need to see to realize that the Annapolis, Maryland based quartet thrive in their own mildly twisted universe. And the first to admit it is Jimi HaHa, the front man of the eclectic group, who's known for his own brand of manic energy. "We mix up a lot of different sounds," he says. We’re schizophrenic because our tastes are." From bluesy rap-infused grooves to hard rock, their kick-ass, live set is lesson in controlled diversity from the band with the wacky name.

Willie is about to wake up so I have to take him up to the chuck wagon aka Mommy and then I'll be putting Zach to bed. After that, I'll try to stay awake for the entire World Series game 2. Ahhh, domestic life!

Have a great weekend!

Tony Jordan

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Clapton, Beam & BBQ, Bonamassa, TR and Black Cash

Watching my videotape of the first Clapton Crossroads festival that I taped off of PBS in 2004. Tons of great guitarists in it (Clapton, Buddy Guy, Santana, Robert Randolph, Joe Walsh, ZZ Top, and more). Watching this rejuvenated my interest in Clapton. I had grown somewhat tired of his lame pop stuff and just wasn't feelin' him anymore. But with the other guitarists here you can watch them challenging each other and Clapton seemed to go to another level. Check out the DVD if you get a chance.

Most of what's going on this week is happening on Thursday night. Out at the Richmond International Raceway complex is the ACCA Shriner's 25th Annual Central VA Pork Festival from 5 PM - 9 PM featuring "All you can eat and drink – Budweiser, Jim Beam, and BBQ”. There are some bands playing but I've never heard of them so don't go for that, go for the Beam and BBQ. Tix are $30 in advance and $40 at the gate.

Thursday at noon you can hit a free show from guitar prodigy Joe Bonamassa at Plan 9 in Carytown (the greatest record store in Richmond) as a preview to his show at Toad's Place that night. Joe was opening for BB King at ten years old and he was in a band called Bloodline in his mid-teens with Robbie Krieger's (Doors guitarist) son, and Butch Trucks' (Allman Brothers) son. I saw them at that time (early 90s) and could see he was talented but thought he had to age a bit because he was showing off a lot and not really playing with the band. I saw him in the bio-movie of producer Tom Dowd (Tom Dowd & The Language Of Music, a great movie about the man who both worked on the Manhattan Project and produced music by
John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Otis Redding, Eric Clapton, Aretha Franklin, the Allman Brothers and many others) and was watching some of the videos on the Toad's Place site and he sounded like he has matured so he should be pretty damn good now. Toad's Place show is all ages, doors at 8, show at 9. Tickets are $20, Gold Circle $35. And opening for Joe at both Plan 9 and Toad's is Kenny Loggins' son, Crosby Loggins. I dare you to shout out for him to play "Danger Zone".

Also on Thursday, at Capital Ale House Downtown, is Dave Matthew's longtime collaborator, Tim Reynolds. My sister-in-law used to work for a caterer when she was going to school at UVA and says she would see Dave & Tim playing at cocktail hour at weddings. Of course, she didn't know Dave would be huge someday and his cocktail hour strumming gave no indication he would be. Now they've done a couple live albums and tours together. I've always enjoyed their "Live At Luther College" CD. Doors open at 9 and tickets are $20.

On Saturday night at Alley Katz, Black Cash & The Bad Seeds, the excellent Johnny Cash cover band, are playing. Show is for those 18 and over and starts at 10 PM and goes 'til 2 AM and is only $8.

I'm off to watch some more of Ken Burns' "The War" since there is no baseball game on tonight. Have a great weekend!

Tony Jordan

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Greatest Weekend Of Music in Richmond EVER!

Yes, this is the Greatest Weekend Of Music in Richmond EVER! However, I will probably be lucky just to catch a few hours of the National Folk Fest. Baby Will is not ready for big crowds yet. You're not supposed to take infants out in big crowds for six weeks or so because of germs, germs, germs! And he's still not sleeping enough at night that I can bail out and go to the shows at Toad's. I take some consolation in the fact that all the acts at Toad's are road horses and will probably be back in the spring now that Toad's and Richmond are on their touring radar.

Let's get right into things with the National Folk Festival in downtown Richmond. The weather will be absolutely perfect. This is the last of the three years in Richmond and it has been a lot of fun having it here. Richmond is planning to continue their own festival in years to come. The variety of music that falls under the "folk" category is huge and includes bluegrass, zydeco, gospel, Eastern European and Celtic, blues, old-time country, Chinese, and Native American. Its a great sampler and you are bound to find something you like. This is also a family event, with a crafts area and stage for the young ones and VA Folklife craft demonstrations to check out too. If Kathy needs a break, I'm hoping to drag Zach down for a few hours on Saturday or Sunday.

At night this week, I could live at Toad's Place Thursday through Sunday night. Thursday night, Michael Franti & Spearhead bring their reggae/punk/folk/funk revolutionary music to Toad's. Doors at 8 PM, show starts at 9 PM with Blue King Brown opening. Tix are $25. "Power to the Peaceful!" I also saw a large banner up yesterday at the corner of Ellwood and Thompson, put up by Ellwood Thompson's Market, that reference one of their songs, saying "All The Freaky People Make the Music Of the World". And ain't it true.

Friday night, my pick of the weekend is at Toads and that is moe. moe. is at the peak of their powers right now. Here is how their web site describes them:
"moe. is...
Led Zeppelin, Steely Dan and Gram Parsons...from hard rock to
melodic country, moe can write songs and they can play the bejesus out of them
live. They can deliver live energy to a studio recording and are equally
comfortable playing textural musical landscapes or balls to the wall guitar
solos. By not limiting their songwriting to preconceived genres, moe. are a
rarity in today's pop music culture. Their latest studio album, "The Conch", has
already received 4 out of 5 stars from Rolling Stone, and 3.5 out of 4 stars
from Paste. The Buffalo News calls "The Conch" "A Masterpiece". See them live,
Buy their album, or live an unfulfilled life."
Doors at 7:30, Show at 8:30 with the PMG opening. Tix are $27 in advance, $30 the day of the show.

Tower of Power plays at Toad's on Saturday night. Tower of Power horns are most famous in my book for playing on the greatest live album of all time, Little Feat's "Waiting For Columbus". The horn section has also played on albums by Santana, Elton John, Mickey Hart, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Rod Stewart, Sammy Hagar, The Meters, Heart, Molly Hatchet, Huey Lewis, Bonnie Raitt, Eurythmics, Phish, Fishbone, Aerosmith and more. They are the go-to horn section for the best musicians. The band plays great soul music and has been doing it going back to 1970. Doors open at 7 PM, show starts at 8 PM. General Admission is $25, Gold Circle is $40.

On Saturday night at the Charlottesville Pavilion is Phil Lesh (of the Grateful Dead) and Friends. Phil's latest version of his friends includes young blues singer Jackie Greene, Steve Molitz (keyboard player from Particle) and Larry Campbell, who was the guitarist and fiddle player for Dylan's band for a number of years. The shows with this version of the friends have been getting mixed reviews so far on, with some weak first sets but usually killer second sets. The reviews are getting more positive as the band moves along its tour so it looks like things may be starting to gel just in time for this show. Doors are at 6 PM and show at 7 PM. Tix should be in the $40 range and may still be available but the Pavilion web site was not pulling up so I can't be sure.

On Sunday night back at Toad's, Gov't Mule plays, who I've never been a huge fan of, but I am becoming a big fan of the opening act, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals. If you go for Mule, make sure you get there early to see Grace. Doors are at 7 PM and show starts at 8 PM. Tix are $25 in advance and $30 day of show. BTW, many of the shows at Toad's are all ages shows so those of you with teens who may be interested can bring them along. And if you go for Grace, stick around for the Mule. Last Saturday and Sunday, Potter jammed with Gov’t Mule during the final selection of its first set. On Saturday Grace & the Nocturnals joined Gov’t Mule for a cover of Al Green’s “Take Me to the River” at Upper Darby, PA’s Tower Theatre and on Sunday Potter performed with Mule on a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Woman” at Schenectady, NY’s Proctor's Theater.

Finally, at Toad's on Tuesday night are up and coming jam banders, Umphrey's McGee who hail from Notre Dame. (You Notre Dame people need something to cheer about since your football team sucks this year.) Doors at 8 PM, show at 9 PM, $20 in advance, $22 day of show.

If you go to any of these shows or have comments, please post reviews or comments in the Comments section of the blog. That way we can all share and I can comment back to you in the blog.

Have fun this weekend and I hope to see you at the Folk Festival!

Tony Jordan