Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Jam Bands Galore, NYE in Richmond

Here it is, Christmas Eve Eve, and not a creature is stirring except my cat, who just threw up a hairball. "Merry Christmas, people. Hack!"

Anyway, Saturday begins the little mini-jam band fest here in Richmond.
Saturday night, the reunited New Potato Caboose plays The National. Tix are $15 in advance, $18 day of show and doors open at 7, with the show starting at 8 with opener Indecision. New Potato had some regional success in the 80s and 90s in the Northeast as a band that played Dead, Little Feat and other classic rock along with some originals.

If you would prefer to see a local Dead cover band, check out King Solomon's Marbles on Saturday night at Cary St. Cafe. Show starts at 10 and cover charge is $7.

Tuesday night, uber-Dead cover band, Dark Star Orchestra plays at The National with Donna Jean Godchaux (formerly of the Grateful Dead) & the Tricksters. Doors open at 6, show starts at 7, tix are $25 in advance, $28 day of show. You know the drill by now, DSO takes the setlist from a Grateful Dead show and "recreates" the show live. Donna will probably sit in for a few tunes.

On Wednesday, 12/30, Keller Williams plays The National. Doors open at 7, show starts at 8, tix are $18 in advance, $21 day of show. Keller will do 2 full sets so there is no opener. I've never been a huge fan of Keller when he does his one man band thing with the looping. Its interesting for about 15 minutes but never really grabbed my soul. I have enjoyed Keller when he is with a band. Looks like you'll get a little of both at this show. The National site says: "Keller Williams with an Added Bonus, an even blend of Keller's solo looping show and new flavors of grassy disco jazz funk featuring Claude Arthur, Jay Starling, Toby Fairchild as well as digital visuals by Scott Sunn." Here you can check out Keller doing his one man band thing with the song "Brown Chicken Brown Cow":

If you are looking for some music on New Year's Eve, the choices are unfortunately very few.
Jackass Flats, The Hot Seats, and Barnun & Co. will be doing the bluegrass thing on NYE,officially known as the 2nd Annual Richmond Roots Music Extravaganza at The Camel. Tix are $20 for the whole night of music, plus heavy hors d’oeuvres and a champagne toast at midnight.

Crucial Elements will be doing the reggae thing at Cary St. Cafe on NYE. Show starts at 10 PM and tix are $10.
If you have recovered enough from your NYE hangover to bang your head on New Year's Day, you can head to The National for a FREE concert from AC/DC cover band, Hells Bells (not to be confused with the all-female AC/DC cover band, Hell's Belles). Doors open at 7 and show starts at 8 with openers Half Brother Sid, Stoke Row and Medusa Switch.
I'll leave you with a video from what could be the weirdest Christmas party you would ever want to go to (and I would want to go to it) presided over by Bob Dylan (in a wig?) in Bob's song "Must Be Santa" from his Christmas album.

Have a Merry Christmas & and Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!

Tony Jordan

Friday, December 18, 2009

Rescheduled: Carbon Leaf @ The National

This just in from The National:

Because of impending Winter Weather the CARBON LEAF show scheduled for THIS Saturday December 19th @ 9pm at The National will be moved to THIS Monday December 21st @ 8pm ... All tickets purchased for December 19th performance will be honored at The National on this Monday. Tickets for Monday performance are on sale no...w at all Ticketmaster outlets,, and The National box office ...See More

DJ Williams Projekt, Jackass Flats, Carbon Leaf, Decade Best Of Lists

As it gets close to Christmas, you always get a couple shows from local bands who return home for the holidays and want to do a show for friends, family and longtime fans. This year is no different. I will state the obvious though, with the snow in the forecast, call ahead before venturing out to see these bands as shows may get canceled or postponed.

Friday night, DJ Williams Projekt takes over The National to celebrate the release of their new 3rd album, "Eleven". Tix are $15, doors open at 8, show starts at 9 with openers Beast Wellington & DJ Paul B. I'm sure it will be a funky good time. There was an article in Style this week about where the band is at now and you can check it out HERE. Here's some video of the band performing at Cafe Diem in June of this year:

If your tastes run more toward bluegrass, check out Jackass Flats at Cary St. Cafe on Friday night. Show starts at 10 and there is a $7 cover charge.

Saturday night, Carbon Leaf pull into The National. Tix are $20, doors open at 8, show starts at 9 with opener The Jim Ivins Band. Here's a video of them live in October in Austin, TX performing "Pink":

In the midst of the many decade-end Best Of lists, one of the more interesting ones is from the web site, Metacritic, which is kind of like Rotten Tomatoes but for music (and video games and TV, etc.). Their list was made up of the most critically acclaimed bands and albums of the last decade based on the scores for a bands albums. Be sure to read the beginning of the article before skipping to the lists so you understand their methodology. What was interesting was that the most critically acclaimed artist of the decade by Metascore was Spoon. Didn't see that one coming did you. Anyway, check the list out, these type of lists are always fun to read and argue about and get some ideas for stuff you may have overlooked. The list is HERE.

A companion to that list is their roundup of all the decade best from all the publications. That is HERE.

If you want a really cool comprehensive list of the most acclaimed albums and songs of all time, check out ACCLAIMED MUSIC. Checked out this site after seeing the link on Metacritic and it looks like a cool site for those who like rock lists.

And let's have a litte Dino lead us in a round of "Let It Snow":

Have a great weekend and have fun in the snow!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Elvis Costello at The National

*** Just Announced *** Rock Legend ELVIS COSTELLO Saturday April 24th @ 8pm ... Tickets on sale THIS Friday December 18th at all Ticketmaster outlets,,, and The National box office

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Phish in C'ville review, Sharon Jones & Dap Kings, Hamaganza

Phish put on a great show at Charlottesville on Saturday night. The fun began in the parking lot, which was a somewhat subdued scene compared to a normal Phish lot, thanks to the 30 degree weather and light snow. Luckily by the time Phil and I arrived, Wyatt and Angie had arrived ahead of us and set up a tarp overhead and Wyatt's homemade propane fire pit. The fire pit is about two feet across and filled with glass beads that hold the warmth and are quite attractive. Besides keeping us warm, you tend to make a lot of friends when you have a source of heat on a cold, wet day so we partied with people from NC, MD and VA and had a steady stream of onlookers. The few hours in the lot flew by and around 7, it was time to go in. BTW, Wyatt plans on building and selling his propane fire pits (Lil' Cozys? Pixie Fires? They need a good name.) and if you tailgate or camp you will definitely want to get one. He probably could have sold about 15 or 20 that day.

We had great seats, one step off the floor and about even with the front of the soundboard, so we had excellent sound and a full view of the light show. We were also pleased to find that John Paul Jones Arena now allows you to bring beer back to your seats and you no longer are confined to a "beer garden" area. Though after a few hours in the lot, we decided to hold off until intermission to partake of the brew.

The band came out smoking from the start with "AC/DC Bag" and "Chalk Dust Torture". Then a new one, "Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan", which was good but failed to fully ignite. The set seemed to kick up a notch with "Divided Sky", their progressive rock-ish, mostly instrumental which has always reminded me of something a looser Yes would do. Next up was "Ya Mar", a fun reggae number that lightened things up after the heavy "Divided Sky". What also lightened things up was the naked guy who jumped on stage during "Ya Mar" and managed to avoid security for quite a few seconds as seen in this montage of the naked guy and the band's references to him the rest of the show:

Next up was a deeply funky version of Robert Palmer's (by way of writer Allen Toussaint) "Sneakin' Sally Through the Alley". They went way into the swampy funk on this one, with bassist Mike Gordon propelling the band. Then a little twisted bluegrass number, "My Old Home Place" (which mentions Virginia) to get our hoedown on. Then a solid end to the rest of the first set with Cavern, Funky Bitch, David Bowie, The Wedge and a cover of Hendrix's "Bold As Love" with guitarist Trey Anastasio playing his ass off on that one.

Second set brought the funk back with their great riff rocker, "Tweezer", the "step into the freezer" line resonating with those who had spent time in the lot. They again went into a nice, deep funky jam that had the crowd rising up a number of times. This segued into the new song, "Light", which was bit of a letdown after the jams out of "Tweezer". However, they brought it all back together with a great jam out of "Light" which featured some excellent work on the lights (as always) from their longtime lighting director, Chris Kuroda. Also some amazing work throughout the beginning of this set from drummer, Jon Fishman, to keep a high energy beat going while providing fills and moving the beat in and around the other members. The jam went into "Piper" and then a truly uplifiting version of "Free". Here's the jam into "Piper" with a nice view of the light show:

Next up, a cover of the Stones' "Sweet Virginia" with drummer Fishman on the vocals. For those unfamiliar with Phish, Fishman usually takes a turn on vocals each show and though not the best vocalist there is some goofy charm to his singing. However, despite the singalong aspect of the song and the references to "Virginia", this one never really jelled and seemed more of a breather for both the band and the audience.

The band got right back into the thick of it with a great version of the crowd-pleaser "Harry Hood" into the rocker "Suzy Greenberg" that got the whole crowd dancing and pumping fists. They kept the rockin' vibe going with "Golgi Apparatus" and its sing along lyric, "I saw youuuuuu, with a ticket stub in your hand". Mike Gordon's bass dropped out for a bit during "Golgi", prompting Mike to do the bass parts vocally, which got big smiles out of Trey. Finally, a killer version of "Run Like An Antelope" in which Trey tied the whole show together by remembering the naked guy and changing the lyrics to "Run like a naked guy out of control". Only at a Phish show would (1) the band think to do this, (2) pull it off seamlessly and (3) have the whole audience pick up on it immediately and sing along.

The encore brought more "Exile On Main Street" (the band played the entire album on Halloween) Stones, with a fantastic version of "Lovng Cup" ("Oh, what a beautiful buzz") and then the tension and release of "Tweezer Reprise". "Tweezer Reprise" started with Trey playing the familiar riff and keyboardist Page McConnell doing runs on the piano and organ. Mike Gordon then dropped some deep bass bombs that hit you in the gut and shook your loins. The drums kick in and they build and build, closing the show on a high note.

All in all, an excellent show. 4 out of 5 stars. Can't wait until spring tour.

Onto this weekend in Richmond. If you are dying for some more Phish, check out Strange Design, the Dark Star Orchestra of Phish cover bands. Strange Design take setlists from Phish shows and "recreate" the show. They'll be at the Hat Factory on Thursday night. Tix are $13, doors open at 8 and the show starts at 9 with local Grateful Dead cover band, King Solomon's Marbles, so you can get your Dead and Phish on at the same show. It's a hippie's dream.

Do you like soul music? Sweet soul music? Then get yourself to The National on Friday for Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings. Tix are $20 in advance, $25 the day of the show. Doors open at 8 and the show starts at 9 with Greg Hester. Sharon Jones is a classic soul belter, who recently backed up Phish (it all comes back to Phish on this blog) on their Halloween version of the Stones' "Exile On Main St." album. You may recognize the Dap Kings as the band that backed up Amy Winehouse on much of her "Back to Black" album. If I hadn't just gone to Phish, I would love to go to this show. Should be a great show, especially on a Friday night. Here's the video of their song, "100 Days, 100 Nights". They even go with black & white to further the retro feel of their music:

The traditional Hamaganza charity event takes place Saturday night at the Capital Ale House Downtown. This is a now 14-year running fund & food raiser for the Central Virginia Food Bank. Admission is a cured or canned ham or $10. Anything goes at Hamaganza. Comedians, politicians, (which are sometimes the same thing), whistlers, jugglers, musicians of all types, dancing girls, Dirtwoman, you never know what you are going to see but its a lot of fun and its for a great cause. Doors open at 9. Who knows, maybe Phish will show up? Well, probably not but I had to work them in somehow.

I'll leave you this week with an absolutely mind-boggling, creepily psychedelic video of the new song from N.A.S.A. featuring Tom Waits & Kook Keith, "Spacious Thoughts". Smoke 'em if you got 'em.

Have a great weekend!

Tony Jordan

Friday, December 4, 2009

Phish, Grand Illumination, Christmas Parade, Colbie Caillat

Lots of holiday stuff going on this weekend along with the Phish end-of-tour blowout in C'ville.

Phish will be at John Paul Jones Arena in C'ville on Saturday night. Show starts at 7:30 and I have heard they are starting on time so don't go in on rock n' roll time thinking the show will start at 8. Reports from this tour have been all good with long sets, many breakouts (tunes they haven't played in a long time) and inspired playing. I'm thinking this one should be a blast with a fired-up (hopefully. I haven't been very impressed with crowds at JPJ so far.) Saturday night crowd and the band playing well and excited for the end of the tour. They will be coming off of three nights in a row at Madison Square Garden in NYC so there is a small chance of a letdown but the band usually doesn't operate like that.

If you are going, I'll see you there. Phil and I will brave the parking lot scene despite the cold weather but if we need respite, Starr Hill Brewery is throwing a Phish pre-party at the Millmont Grille from 3 - 6 PM. The Millmont Grille is only 1/2 mile from the arena.

Here is the band playing Zappa's "Peaches En Regalia" from the first night at MSG:

Here in Richmond, there is tons of Christmas stuff going on. Tonight is the Grand Illumination downtown and there are a lot of activities surrounding that. The Grand Illumination itself runs from 6 - 7 PM at 10th & E Cary St. For a full rundown of events, click HERE.

The Richmond Christmas Parade will be running down Broad St from the Science Museum to 7th St. starting at 10 AM on Saturday. We usually bring the kids to this one but unfortuately the weather doesn't look like it will cooperate this year. Snow would be fine. Cold is OK. But rain and cold are not a happy combination and that's the weather services are calling for on Saturday AM. Keep on eye on that though, as it may change.

On Friday, Rise Against will be at The National. Tix are $35, doors open at 7, show starts at 8 with openers Landmines and After Midnight Project.

Colbie Caillat will be playing at The National on Tuesday night. Tix are $21 in advance, $24 day of show, doors open at 7 and show starts at 8. Though I can't say that I'm a huge Colbie Caillat fan, I did like the song "Bubbly" until they played it to death and she is just so damn cute. Click HERE to see lots of cute pictures of Colbie. But just so this isn't all about Colbie's looks, here's the video for her last single, "Fallin' For You", which features Bobby Moynihan, one of the new guys on Saturday Night Live, and Colbie looks really cute...oops, promised not to do that. You'll have to click HERE because they won't let me embed the video.

Have a great weekend! I'll see you at the Phish show!

Tony Jordan