Thursday, July 9, 2009

Ratdog/moe review, Avett Bros., 80s Was The Greatest

Let's start things off with a quick review of the Ratdog/moe. show last night at Innsbrook.

moe. started things off around 6:20 with two old favorites.
Spaz Medicine ->
Water -> (featured some cool backing vocals and then guitarist Chuck Garvey took the spotlight as they went into the instrumental.....)
Hector's Pillow ->
Letter Home -> (a nice mellow one as the sun dipped behind the trees and things started to cool off)
St. Augustine -> (this one got funky and really got the crowd into it)
Waiting For The Punchline,
Recreational Chemistry (moe. saved the highlight for the end. Recreational starts with the woozy trippy guitar blend of Chuck and Al Schnier, then went through a nice jam before Al took over and was just wailing at the end, almost punk/metal. Brought the crowd, even the Gold Circle folks, to their feet.)

Ratdog started around 8:20.
Jam -> (This show was definitely starting right with the band doing a funky, popping jam. The whole band was involved and energized.)
Feel Like A Stranger -> (a really tight version. A little less on the funk side then normal, the band was really playing with the different rhythms in the song. Everytime they would hit the chorus, keyboardist Jeff Chimenti would do these cool keyboard washes that would psychedelicize the song a little. It seemed like it could go off the tracks at any second, but they kept it all together and while it was a little harder to dance to, it was a cool and interesting take.)
Easy Answers (Pretty strong version highlighted by the interplay between Kenny Brooks on sax and Mark Karan on guitar.)
Baby Blue (a nice little breather as darkness fell on Innsbrook. Bob vocals were strong and clear.)
Odessa (a fun rockin' blues number that got the crowd dancin' again. Highlighted by Kenny Brooks on the baritone sax.)
Ramble On Rose (a singalong for everyone. Mark Karan's solo toward the end put this one over the top.)
Playin In The Band -> (Here's where things got really good. The jam started and they started to go to that deep dark place ala '74 Playin's, my favorite era. Mark Karan's guitar had that same tone. Then they moved into a funky jazz segment with the whole band locked in tightly. Little Other One teases started to come through and they band built the tension slowly. Then a look from Bobby to bassist Robin Sylvester, Robin visually checked in with drummer Jay Lane and.....)
The Other One -> (Ba-Ba-Ba-Ba-Ba-Ba-Ba-Ba-BOMB! Robin dropped the big opening bass bombs and away we went for an absolutely exhilirating Other One. The band was firing on all cylinders and driving this one as strong as any Other One I had ever seen, Grateful Dead included.)
Stuff -> (I took a beer break during the drums part because I needed something to drink after dancing my ass off during the Other One.)
Standing On The Moon (The just past full moon was rising behind the clouds. I was a little leery of this one as they started but Bob's powerful vocals and the band paced this one perfectly building to a moving climax.)
Mighty Quinn* -> (a fun singalong to bring things back to earth after the psychedelic portion of our show.)
Going Down The Road Feeling Bad* (nice guitar interplay between Al Schnier from moe, Bobby and Mark Karan. Chimenti added that barrelhouse piano and the whole crowd was on their feet and dancing like there was no tomorrow. The band looked like they would have gone longer but the man at the back of the stage was making slashing motions across his throat as they hit that dreaded Innsbrook 10:30 curfew. Bobby wrapped things up and the band took a well-deserved bow.)
* with Al Schnier of moe.

Overall, moe. put on a good show but it felt like a first set for them so I wanted more. That's the role of the opener. Looking forward to them coming back soon and playing a show of their own at The National. Ratdog absolutely renewed my faith in them after the crummy show I saw them do two years ago at All Good. I'll chalk that up to the band trying to gel quickly with the last minute replacement guitarist. I hope some of you that were disappointed with The Dead's C'ville show got to this one because this was as good a "Dead" show as you'll ever see. (And at 1/5 the price of The Dead!)

Speaking of the All Good festival, it will be web cast for FREE this weekend on The schedule hasn't been posted yet but the music starts tomorrow on Marvin's Moutaintop in Masontown WV at 2 PM tomorrow so they should have the schedule up by then if not start the broadcast. Scheduled to appear at All Good (no guarantee who will be on the web cast): Ratdog & moe. on Friday along with Galactic, Robert Randolph, and Les Claypool. Saturday will feature The Bridge, Buckethead, Assembly of Dust, Yonder Mountain String Band, Lake Trout, Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk, Ben Harper & RELENTLESS7, & Umphrey's McGee. Sunday brings us Donna the Buffalo, BK3 w/Bill Kreutzmann, and Dark Star Orchestra to close things out. Keep an eye open for our friends Phil, Angie & Ginny, who are up there and who I am jealous of this weekend. If all goes well, I'll be back there next year.

Closer to home, the Avett Brothers will be at The National on Friday night. Tix are $25, doors open at 7, and show starts at 8 with Thao with the Get Down Stay Down. The Avett Brothers will probably play a few numbers from their forthcoming album, "I and Love and You" (Sept 29th). The Avett Brothers play bluegrass influenced rock and roll or rock influenced bluegrass depending on the song and your point of view. You'll probably dig them if you like Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, Wilco, or The Jayhawks. Here's an appropriate song by the Avett Brothers for the summertime, "At The Beach":

Busta Rhymes will be keeping you all in check at Fridays at Sunset on Kanawha Plaza. Tix are $25 at the gate and the show starts at 6 with Biz Markie so get there early so can sing along with "Just a Friend". Here's Busta with Ol' Dirty Bastard doin' "Woo Hah!" (Language NSFW!)

Saturday the non-grammatically correct show "80s Was The Greatest" will be at Brown's Island. Appearing will be Naughty By Nature, Doug E. Fresh, Slick Rick, Chubb Rock and Trouble Funk. Gates open at 4:30 and tix are $25.

On Sunday, Better Than Ezra comes to The National. Tix are $21, doors open at 7, show starts at 8 with opener 16 Frames. Here's their big hit "Good":

Have a great weekend!

Tony Jordan