Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Toad's Place Is Back!, Dar Williams, Derek Trucks, White Rabbits

Toad's Place is finally back in business and will now be known as the Hat Factory. Maybe all the artists who play there will wear a silly hat in honor of the name. Or not. Or maybe they'll let anyone who wears a silly hat in for free. Or not.

They'll be opening in early September under new management who sound like they should know what they are doing. The article in Style also says they'll be doing live music outdoors on Friday afternoons as if we need another reason to leave work early and start the weekend. Hopefully, they can overcome some of the fears people have about going downtown and specifically to the canal at night. It doesn't help much that nothing else has really materialized in that area along the Canal Walk. Looking forward to see what these guys can do with the place. Here is the article from Style: CLICK HERE.

Pollstar shows the first show there (as of now) is the Ten out of Tenn tour on Friday, 9/25. When I Googled to see if the Hat Factory has a web site yet, I also found out that Robert Earl Keen is booked there on 11/17 and that is confirmed on REK's web site.

Onto what is happening this week. Neo-folkies Dar Williams & Stephen Kellogg play at the Capital Ale House Downtown on Thursday night. Doors open at 7, show starts at 8, tix are $30. Here's what the press release on the Ale House web site says about Dar:

"Williams' growth as a person over her 15-year career has gone hand-in-hand with her evolution as an artist. Raised in Chappaqua, NY, and educated at Wesleyan University, Williams spent 10 years living in the thriving artistic community of Northampton, MA, where she began to make the rounds on the coffeehouse circuit. An early fan of her music was Joan Baez, who took Williams out on the road and recorded several of her songs. Williams self-released her debut album, The Honesty Room in 1993, then signed with Razor & Tie Entertainment in 1995, which has been her label home ever since. She has released one live album — Out There Live (2001); six studio albums — The Honesty Room (1993), Mortal City (1996), End of the Summer (1997), The Green World (2000), The Beauty of the Rain (2003), and My Better Self (2005); and one live DVD — Live at Bearsville Theater (2007).

Through it all, Williams' motivation as an artist is to "experience meaning without fooling myself," she says. "There are these moments where everything feels connected, and I think my art is about trying to find the stories that make us feel connected. That's the verve of my life. It's what keeps things interesting."

I saw Dar many years ago at an outdoor festival in Philly. I liked (and still do) hearing here tunes on the radio but that day she was just OK. It was hot, it was a fairly large amphitheater on the river and I was probably waiting for Los Lobos to come on so it may have been me. I would definitely give her another chance, especially indoors in a smaller venue, which I think would play to her strengths, and having a couple fine microbrews, which would play to my strengths. And she's kind of cute, so seeing her close-up would definitely add to the experience. For me anyway. Here she is doing her song "The One Who Knows" earlier this month:

Guitar great Derek Trucks and his band will play at The National on Friday night. Doors open at 7, show starts at 8 with opener Jesse Chong Band. Ticket prices are Orchestra 1 seating $35, Orchestra 2 seating $30, Balcony seating $25, Standing genral admission $20. Since Derek is usually associated with jam bands which are usually associated with dancing, I was a bit surprised to see this as a reserved seats event. Though he can get pretty jazzy with his band so perhaps he wants to allow people to chill. If you like blues guitar and you haven't seen Derek, be sure to check him out. I guarantee you a few absolutely jaw dropping moments. Here's a little video to tell you all about Derek Trucks Band while you groove:

The Low Anthem will be at The Canal Club on Friday night. Doors open at 7:30 and will open with Alex Enggist, Cannery Row, and Nathan Moore. Tix are $10 in advance, $12 at the door. You can check out the full set The Low Anthem played at The Newport Folk Festival on August 1 courtesy of NPR HERE. You might dig these guys if you like folky/country Neil Young, Dylan, or Ray LaMontagne.

Fiery Furnaces and White Rabbits play at The National on Sunday night. Tix are $15 in advance, $18 day of show, doors open at 7, show starts at 8 with opener "a Special Guest". Both bands are of the Indie Rock variety so you'll probably dig them if you like White Stripes, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Velvet Underground, The Who, Dylan, The Stones, Patti Smith, or PJ Harvey. Here's the video for White Rabbits' "Percussion Gun":

Wanted to throw in a couple reviews of recent shows from special correspondent, Mike L. "Had a great weekend of rock’n’roll. Soulive [opened for Wailers at Innsbrook last Friday] was really great with 2 sax players, drummer, lead guitar and keyboardist. The keyboardist played the bass line with his left hand and it was phenomenal. They’re out of NYC and were all instrumental until they brought out a guest singer for the last two songs. He reminded me of Al Green. Wailers were OK, not as good as two years ago. They’ve got a new lead vocalist who just didn’t’ have the energy level of the last time around. Their lead guitarist who I stood in front of was soaring off in the heavens. Not a bad night for $15 entrance fee and $4 beers.

DMB keeps getting better with age and I felt the new sax player was my MVP for the night. They had a full video screen behind the band that was outstanding technology - high definition. The place was packed and all the kids around me knew all the words to all the songs. I went with 3 - 17 year olds and boy do they know their music. Only downside is getting out of the parking lot at the Nissan Pavilion in Bristow which is an exercise in futility as you prepare for the 2 hour ride home. All in all a great weekend."

I'll leave you this week with a song my kids are lovin' right now. Even little Willie (almost 2!) asks for "Yoda":

Have a great weekend!

Tony Jordan