Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Real Life Intervenes, The Mothership Lands, Steady Rollin' and Junior Brown

Last week, I had planned on hyping the opening of the National Theater with Dark Star Orchestra, my going to the Van Halen concert in C'ville, and the Radiators at the National. Then real life intervened and threw a monkey wrench into all those plans. My five-month old son caught the flu, got dehydrated and ended up in the hospital for two days while he got IV fluids. It was frightening to say the least, as he lost 10% of his body weight and didn't look or act like himself at all. He is thankfully OK now and is back to his chubby-cheeked, happy self. Well, mostly happy, as his first tooth is coming in and that's starting to piss him off a little.

Just as I was on my way to hand my Van Halen ticket to my friend to try to sell at the show we got the word that the show had been postponed due to the freezing rain in C'ville. A valid weather excuse as I would guess at least half the crowd is coming from the Richmond, DC or western VA regions to see the show. I was quite excited as I thought I would miss VH with David Lee after waiting 25 years to see them. And I like that the show will now be in May or June as VH was always more of a summer band for me. Driving in my friend's green LTD with the windows down blasting VH 1; hanging with my friend Chris W. and listening to 1984 on his boom box as we walked the neighborhood on hot summer nights; or cruising the boardwalk in Sea Isle City with Chris G. trying to attract the ladies by playing Fair Warning (especially Unchained) over and over again (it didn't work). All great summer memories fueled by VH's rock with their California harmonies. To get a little VH fix until the show rolls around, here is the "true" story of how VH got Ted Templeman to produce their first album. This is part of my favorite video series "Yacht Rock" and this one has guest host, Drew Carey. Watch out for bad language if you're watching this at work: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGjL4hsBs3M. Van-F**kin'-Halen!

By the way, my three year old son came downstairs tonight as I was listening to VH II and, unprompted by me, started playing air guitar and said "I'm rocking out." Must be genetic.

The National had their own...ahem...weather issues and postponed their opening. I never heard of an indoor show being canceled due to rain. If they weren't ready to open, they should have just said that on their site. Anyway, they piggybacked the Dark Star Orchestra on top of the Radiators show on Monday night, pissing off DSO fans who had made plans to see them on Friday night and Radiators fans who now had their band as an opener instead of a headliner. Hopefully, things will run better at the National in the future.

Let's move onto this week's shows. This is one of the weeks where if I had no kids, some money and a job where I didn't have to be in until 10 or 11 AM, I would be out every night of the week.

We start Wednesday at Toad's Place where the Godfather of Funk, George Clinton, lands the P-Funk Mothership with doors opening at 8 PM and tickets $30. Rest up before you go. If I remember the review correctly from the first time they played at Toad's, P-Funk played for four hours straight. You'll definitely get your money's worth.

Friday night at Capital Ale House Downtown you can get your blues fix with Steady Rollin' Bob Margolin. Doors open at 9:30 and tickets are just $10. Per the Capital Ale House site: "Steady Rollin’ Bob Margolin is a Blues guitar player and vocalist, carrying on the deep Chicago Blues style and creating his original music today. From 1973-1980, Bob played guitar in the band of Chicago Blues legend Muddy Waters, touring worldwide and recording, and learning to play Muddy's powerful music directly from him. In 1980, Bob started his own band, and he's still on the road and recording. He won the W.C. Handy award for guitar in 2005, and was nominated again in 2006."

Keep the Blues thing going on Saturday night but mix in a little honky-tonk and country and you've got yourself Junior Brown. He'll be at Toad's Place, doors open at 7 PM, tix are $16 in advance, $18 day of show.

Coming next week to Toad's, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, which I hope to get to for my first show of the new year. More on that next week.

Have a great weekend!

Tony Jordan

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Nighthawks at Shenanigan's on Sunday

Joan K. reports that "white boy blues band" (their term, not mine) The Nighthawks will be playing a 6:30 show on Sunday evening at Shenanigans, 4017 MacArthur Avenue, Richmond, VA, 23227. The Nighthawks have been playing for 30+ years and their music was featured in not one, but two, episodes of one of the best shows on TV, HBO's "The Wire". The Shenanigans site and the Nighthawks site both do not show a cover charge, so if there is one, it should be nominal. Also, note that the Shenanigans site says the Nighthawks show begins after the Daytona 500 ends, so you may have to contend with drunk, pissed-off Junior fans.

Drive-By Truckers, Serj Tankian, Radiohead, The Bridge

Check out this review of the Drive-By Truckers show in Hollywood. It begins with "The Drive-By Truckers are back on the road again and brought one of the most deeply probing and incendiary live rock shows out there to the Avalon in Hollywood on Tuesday night. " http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080214/music_nm/review_music_driveby_dc_1. I'm hoping to catch the Truckers when they come to the National on Friday, March 28.

Beth S. went to the Serj Tankian show last night at Toad's and reports:

"He was REALLY good. So interesting. Funny thing is you heard the distinctive voice of Serj Tankian knowing it was coming behind the stage as the band members began to file on to the stage all wearing black top hats and jackets! Then he appeared wearing a white jacket and top hat! It was way cool." Thanks for the report, Beth. Here's a picture:

Finally, Beth also mentions that Radiohead will be coming to the Nissan Pavilion on Sunday, May 11th. Tickets are going on sale on Saturday at 10 AM on Ticketmaster. Demand should be high as they are one of the most critically lauded bands of our time and they don't tour much. They are keeping tickets at a reasonable price also ($61 - 41). I was hoping that, like their online sale of "In Rainbows", they would let consumers select their own price for tickets, but that is not to be.

Three more bands that I loved to see live have now raised their ticket prices to exorbitant levels: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (charging $131 to sit in the orchestra level, $101 to sit in the second tier at Nissan Pavilion and $91 to sit in the third tier). Wasn't TP once the guy who fought his record company because they wanted his album to be the first to have a $9.99 list price (when albums were $8.99)? The Allman Brothers are charging $150 to sit in the orchestra, $100 to sit in the balcony at the Beacon Theater in NY. Granted the Allman's prices may be inflated becuase its the Beacon and its in NY, but still... Rush's top ticket price at the Nissan Pavilion will be $123. At least I'll have my good memories of seeing these bands.

This week's shows feature The Bridge at The Canal Club on Saturday night. Show starts at 9 PM and tickets are an oh-so-reasonable $7. The Bridge are an up-and-coming jam band from Baltimore. They handed out a free sampler CD at All Good and they sound pretty good, more funky & danceable than spacey. I missed their show because they were the first band on one day at the festival and I couldn't get myself together in time to get down there.

Tony Jordan

Friday, February 8, 2008

Review of Deadheads for Obama show

My friend, Steve G of San Rafael CA, attended the Deadheads for Obama show in SF, CA this past Monday. This is his review:

The show was fantastic - easily the best live concert i've seen in years. There was so much energy at the Warfield and it was great to see them in a venue with so much GD/JGB history, and that only seats ~2500. Nearly everyone in attendance were die-hard deadheads, but there were a few people who got tix through the Obama campaign. But everyone seemed to have a great time.
I had just seen Phil and Friends for their Mardi Gras show the week before - first time i had seen them in about 7-8 years. I stopped going because at the time Phil was singing most of the songs and i just couldn't bear his off-key vocals for an entire show! Now that he's added Jackie Green, he is only singing on a few songs. I was lucky at that show because he did 3 of his own tunes: Pride of Cucamonga, Unbroken Chain and Box of Rain. Alot of folks at the Deadheads for Obama show said that the P&F show was the best they've seen in years, so i feel like i lucked out. They did alot of old GD tunes in the first set, like Golden Road, Midnite Hour, Viola Lee->Caution->Viola Lee. And the second set featured the Mardi Gras parade, which was cool because i never saw a Dead mardi gras show. They had a bunch of floats, chinese dragons, stilt-walkers, etc... parading through the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium during and extended Iko Iko sung by Ivan Neville. Good stuff - they even through in the New Orleans classic "They All Asked For You" in the middle of Iko, which is on one of the Putamaya Kids New Orleans CD that is in Jake's regular music rotation. The Truckin' after Iko featured Ivan Neville on Jackie's B3, playing the original organ part from the studio version of Truckin' which sounded great. Then St Stephen ->The Eleven->Unbroken Chain.
The opening band was Dumpstaphunk (great name for a band) featuring Ivan Neville. They were great - the whole crowd really got into them. Their highlight (for me) was the Sopranos theme. Great crowd at this show - really good vibes all around.
But now getting back to the Deadheads for Obama show. Tix went on sale at 5 pm last friday and sold out in minutes. I was shut out and was totally bummed. My neighbor managed to get tickets but didn't have any extra. The next day, i checked on Craig's list to see what they were selling for and the first posting I saw was from someone who said that Ticketmaster just released a block of single-seat tickets. I went online and ended up getting great seats - 4th row balcony on Bobby's side of the stage.. So i drove in with my neighbor but we couldn't sit together. Getting into the Warfield was a mess because all of the tickets were will call. So 2500 people were lined up down Market Street. Fortunately, my neighbor found a friend who let us in line near the front so we got in before the 7:30 scheduled start time. Of course the show started an hour late becasue it took that long to process all the ticketholders.
When i got in, we hung out and had a beer before heading to our respective seats. When i got to my seat, it turns out i was sitting near my high school buddies sister- the one who had told me about the show in the first place. My row was all of her friends and just like in Dead shows back in the day, they totally accepted me into their merry clan and shared whatever they had with me. In fact, one guy kept smuggling beers into me during the entire first and second set, so i didn't have to leave my seat and had free beer (including delivery).
In terms of the show itself, what can I say? You saw the video. The highlights for me were The Wheel, Sugaree, Minglewood, Other One, and the entire acoustic set (esp. Ripple, where the entire crowd was singing the final verse). The only thing i wasn't so thrilled about was Come Together - i knew they were going to play it because my friend was there for the soundcheck and told me they were working on it.
Throughout the show, i kept focusing much of my attention on Bobby,Phil and Mickey. Watching one of them for a while, then shifting to the next. The interplay between the 3 is something you don't see in most bands. They are so musically connected that they were able to pull this off with no rehearsals other than the sound check. I really like the way they represented Jerry. All three of them (and also Jackie) handled Jerry's vocal parts. And the guitar parts were split between Jackie, Barry Sless and Mark Karan. It was the most respectful way to basically say that no one person can ever replace what Jerry did - it was a collective effort. And they came pretty close at times. Even Phil singing Half Step sounded good. The other thing i realized is that Bobby is fantastic when he plays with Phil. I really can't stand Ratdog and I know alot of other folks feel the same way. They just don't have what it takes. Bobby needs Phil, whereas the reverse is not necessarily as true (based on the P&F show).
The other thing is Jackie Green. Deadheads have really embraced him. It's weird to see a skinny 27-year old asian guy doing Jerry tunes, but he gets it. He can do the soulful vocals on tunes like Sugaree and Brokedown Palace (which he and Phil played acoustic on KFOG last week). I was hoping to hear him sing Stella Blue, because i think he would be able to nail that.
In terms of the politics, i'm glad they supported they guy i voted for. Phil and Mickey are really ardent Obama supporters. Bobby probably is too, but he didn't talk about a specific candidate as much as he was just urging people to get out to vote.
Even though Obama lost CA to Hillary, he's still close in the race. Most of the people I spoke to supported Obama, but the guy next to me was Clinton supporter. There was a group on the floor that unveiled a Ron Paul banner (why would you do that at an Obama fund-raiser) and it was promptly taken down. And i saw another guy write "Bin Laden" under Obama's name on a poster that was hanging up in the balcony. What an idiot! I guess even some deadheads can be complete knuckleheaded douchebags.
Jackie is playing a tiny theater down the street from us this weekend. Phil lives near us and the theater, so i have no doubt that he'll show up. But i probably won't go as I've gone over my concert quota for the month - i still may go see Johnny Winter in a few weeks. I don't know if i told you we bought a new house. Our neighbors report Phil sightings all the time. I've run into him at the Farmer's Market, supermarket, brunch at a local cafe, dinner at an italian restaurant, in the parking lot at the Corte Madera mall. My neighbor who i went to the show once had jury duty with Phil and was chatting him up during a break. He ended up getting backstage passes for one of his upcoming shows (this was a few years back).
I hope this lineup tours so you get a chance to check them out. I don't know how well Bobby and Phil get along but there's no denying that they still sound great together.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

I might actually buy a book about Celine Dion

Well, the book "Let's Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste", actually uses Celine Dion to provoke a larger conversation about what is "taste" and what is "cool". It sounds pretty interesting, and while I still don't think I'll be buying any Celine albums, I may not despise her as much. Here is an interview with the author, Carl Wilson, from Crawdaddy: http://crawdaddy.wolfgangsvault.com/Article.aspx?id=5388&page=1&cpage=1.

To see why Celine is F***ing Amazing, just watch this video. No, really, watch it, you'll thank me later: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQrcNujVTPA. Just for the footage of Celine air humping. (Thanks to Sarah N. for providing this link.)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A case for The Hooters; Cracker and other weekend shows

Shows of note this week.

Cracker plays an acoustic gig along with the Hackensaw Boys at Toad's Place on Thursday night. Doors open at 7:30 and tix are $15. This is a benefit show. Here's why:
A Benefit For Bryan Hoffa, Sound of Music Engineer, Producer, and Musician. Bryan was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a serious but curable disease in which the immune system attacks the myelin sheath surrounding the spinal cord. As a result, the nervous system is short-circuited and varying levels of paralysis effect the body.

Thankfully Bryan is now in recovery but it involves months of physical therapy and a long time away from work.

Some of Richmond's finest musicians have donated their time and talents to help the Hoffa family during this difficult time. All proceeds from this show will go to their daily living expenses.
W.A.S.P. will be at Toad's on Tuesday. Show starts at 9 PM and tickets are $20. If you like your hair big, you bands loud, and a guy named Blackie Lawless in the band (despite what you think of the band, that is a cool rock and roll name), this is the show for you.

Serj Tankian of System of a Down is at Toad's on Wednesday. Show starts at 8:30 and tickets are $30.50.

Outformation plays at the Canal Club on Friday. I think it starts at 9 PM but there is something wrong with the Canal Club site and I can't get to their calendar. Outformation is a jam band in the tradition of Widespread Panic.

Arlo Guthrie plays at the Modlin Center for the Arts on Sunday and Monday night. Shows start at 7:30. Tickets are $36. Arlo is a master between-song storyteller and has some true classics in his repretoire (City of New Orleans, Alice's Restaurant).

New Riders of the Purple Sage bring their psychedelic cowboy music to the Capital Ale House Downtown on Tuesday. Doors open at 8 and tix are $20.

Also wanted to point out that The Hooters are back! Here's an article about them in the Philly Inquirer: http://www.philly.com/philly/entertainment/20080205_STILL_HOOTER-RIFIC.html.

You may be thinking, "Come on, Tony.. The Hooters?!?". I grew up in Philly in the 80s. The Hooters were our hometown boys made good. We had been listening to them since they had released their first independent album, Amore, in 1983. That album featured many of the songs that would appear on Nervous Night, in their more raw and ska-influenced versions. It still is a great album. (I still have the cassette.) This was back in the days when a major local station would still play local music and WMMR played the Hooters all the time.

I first saw the Hooters live a week before Nervous Night was released. They played at Glassboro (now Rowan) College's All College Day/Spring Fling show in a field at the college so me and a few of my friends in high school went. They put on a great, spirited live show and you could see that they were all excellent players, after having built their reputation in Philly on their live show. That was one of stranger shows I ever saw, as the openers were local new wave band Beru Revue and Run DMC, who had yet to hit big. I dug Run DMC that day too. But that's another story for another day.

When Nervous Night broke big, Philly was excited. Sure, the album was overproduced and added a little too much sugary sheen (and a little less ska) to their sound. But, they were our home town boys made good and they didn't abandon Philly for NY or LA. They filmed their videos in Philly (And We Danced was filmed at a local drive-in theater). They still played in Philly. They opened Live Aid in Philly. They broadcast their big Thanksgiving show on MTV from Philly.

Their popularity began to wane but I would still catch them on occassion playing clubs in Philly. They moved into more of an Americana type sound, which was more in line with what I had moved into. They were still writing excellent songs for themselves and other people (Joan Osborne's hit, One of Us).

I'm looking forward to hearing their new album, Time Stand Still, and if you want to hear it, you can check a couple tunes out on http://www.myspace.com/thehooters. If you think they were just an 80s pop act, give them a listen.

Finally, if you every wanted to know the TRUE story (well, maybe) about the making of the song Footloose, check this out: http://youtube.com/watch?v=nX1Nh6c80wo. I never knew that a drunk Michael McDonald could weild a machete with such ferocity. Be warned there is some nasty language in this clip so watch your volume if at work or with the kids.

Oh, and check the couple items below that I added over the week but didn't send out an email update for.

Have a great weekend.

Tony Jordan

Monday, February 4, 2008

Screaming Light Show Illuminates Gothic Cathedral

Screaming Light Show Illuminates Gothic Cathedral: http://io9.com/351324/screaming-light-show-illuminates-goth-cathedral

Reunited Grateful Dead - Live on Net Tonight!

The reunited Grateful Dead (BOB WEIR, MICKEY HART, PHIL LESH & FRIENDS) (all except drummer Bill Kreutzman) will be performing tonight at The Warfield Theatre in SF as a benefit for Obama Barack. This was just announced late Friday. The video website Iclips will be producing a live simulcast streamed via the Internet on www.iclips.net at approximately 7:30pm PST.

This caused quite a stir on the Grateful Dead Hour mailing list. All it takes is one deadhead who is vehemently opposed to illegal immigration accusing the Dead and Barack of being traitors and calling for a boycott of the Dead to set the internet ablaze. And you thought the deadheads were all crunchy, granola types. Most of the non-attack replies were "You're entitled to your opinion but so are the Dead, so if you want to boycott them fine, but even if I don't agree with them, I'll still listen to their music and support them."

Friday, February 1, 2008

Quick Post: Friday Cheers, "Across The Universe" into the universe, Green Apple in DC

If you're looking for some good blues tonight, check out Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise at the Canal Club. Doors open at 8 PM and tix are $10.

Two shows for Friday Cheers appearing on pollstar.com so far:
5/16 - Carbon Leaf
6/13 - Dirty Dozen Brass Band

Play the Beatles "Across The Universe" at 7 PM on 2/4 along wtih NASA as they beam the song deep into space: http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/01-31-2008/0004747352&EDATE=

"The third annual Green Apple Festival, produced in partnership with Earth Day Network and presented by Chase, announces “America’s largest Earth Day celebration”– a weekend of music and environmental awareness culminating on Sunday, April 20th with eight free festivals occurring simultaneously at landmark locations across the U.S.Approximately 500,000 people are expected to attend the all-inclusive, interactive and free public events in New York City (Central Park), Washington, DC (The National Mall), Chicago IL (Lincoln Park Zoo), Miami FL (Bicentennial Park), Denver CO (City Park), Dallas TX (Fair Park), San Francisco CA (Golden Gate Park) and Los Angeles CA (Santa Monica Pier). Earth Day Network, the non-profit organization created by the original founders of Earth Day in 1970, and Green Apple Festival are proud to announce that the National Mall event in Washington, DC alone will bring together world environmental leaders, community activists, A-list talent and crowds in the hundreds of thousands to make this one of the largest Earth Day gatherings in U.S. history."

Have a Great Weekend!

Tony Jordan