Thursday, January 21, 2010

Zappa review, Haiti benefits, The Machine, Atkinsons, Wrinkle Neck Mules

Much to cover tonight so let's be on our way!

First, Zappa Plays Zappa last Thursday at the Hat Factory was an excellent show. If you have ever liked Zappa, or thought you might like Zappa, you really need to catch these guys next time they come. The band is made up of great musicians led by Dweezil Zappa, who plays a mean guitar. They play some of Frank's more accessible tunes so even those unfamiliar with Frank Zappa's music can get into the music. They opened with the instrumental Purple Lagoon into Stinkfoot in which the new singer with the band (Ben Thomas) introduced himself by doing a dead-on impersonation (vocally not visually) of Frank. Ben would add his own spin to the songs too so he wasn't just an impersonator. That's one of the beauty things about the band. They play the music faithfully but add their own spin and improvisation to the music. They played some of my favorites next, Jones Crusher and Montana. Other highlights included multi-instrumentalist Scheila Gonzalez doing You Didn't Try To Call Me, which really showed that Frank could write almost normal, soulful R&B songs. Keep It Greasy and the religious war satire, Dumb All Over were another highlight.

An unexpected somber part of the show came after "What's New In Baltimore?". Dweezil said "I want to tell you a story about that song", and someone from the audience yelled out "Freak us out, Dweezil!", expecting (as we all were) a humorous tale about the song. Dweezil said, "Well it's freaking me out, too. That song was the favorite song of Chance Keesling. He died in Iraq. (at this point we could see Dweezil was tearing up and he paused for a moment to collect himself). His family asked me to play it and some of them are here tonight." It was a very touching moment. Dweezil would say on his website ( after the show, "Your family (Keeslings)has been through a lot and I am pleased that my father's music has made a positive connection for all of you. We'll keep playing What's New In Baltimore. It's got a lot of emotional layers for me. Your story adds to it as well. Best Regards, DZ"

Other highlights included an absolutely stellar jammed out version of "Apostrophe", and "San Berdino" along with my kids' favorite song "Muffin Man". Whenever we have muffins, I have my kids singing the line from that song "He thought he was a man, but he was a muffin!". We enjoy it. Here's video of the band playing "T'Mershi Duween" named after Dweezil's sister Moon's stuffed camel, then "Keep It Greasy":

Onto this weekend's events. Friday night at Plaza Bowl, you'll find an Americana show with The Atkinsons and Wrinkle Neck Mules. The show starts at 8 PM. There is a cover charge of some sort but I was unable to determine what that would be from the Plaza Bowl MySpace site. Here's the Mules playing "Mecklenberg County" at the Cinco De Mayo fest in Richmond way back in '06.

Friday night on almost every channel on TV (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CNN, BET, the CW, HBO, MTV, VH1 and CMT among others) will be the Hope for Haiti Now - A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief concert. This will feature performances by Beyoncé, Madonna, Haitian artist Emeline Michel, Wyclef Jean, Bruce Springsteen, Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige, Shakira, Sting, Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, Dave Matthews, John Legend, Justin Timberlake, Stevie Wonder, Taylor Swift, a group performance by Keith Urban, Kid Rock, and Sheryl Crow, Coldplay, and a group performance by Bono, The Edge, Jay-Z, and Rihanna. Set your DVRs.

The Haiti relief benefits continue on Saturday with a number of shows in Richmond. At the Plaza Bowl, their Haiti Relief Fundraiser starts at 5 PM and will feature Souvenirs Young America, Snack Truck, The Lost Souls, Paul Ivey & the Ruse, White Laces, Nick Coward & the Last Battle, T-Division, Haints in the Holler and Ladies Night.

Haiti-Palooza to benefit The Patricia Sullivan Haitian Outreach goes down at The Canal Club on Saturday. The doors open at 7 and will feature Foundation, Soul Providers, and Docs Of Rock. Tix are $15 in advance and $20 at the door.

There is also a benefit concert for the Make a Wish Foundation at the Capital Ale House Downtown on Saturday night featuring Sloth Loves Chunk. Show starts at 10 and tix are $8. Per their site "SLC is a rock & roll cover band that prides themselves on putting on a high energy and exciting live show. This is a cover band that covers the spectrum…..from AC/DC to The Killers, from Aerosmith to The Foo Fighters. This is a band with a simple agenda and a simple motto. Their agenda; To make sure that anybody who comes to a show is having just as much fun in the audience as the guys in the band are having on the stage. Their motto; If you can drink to it, they can play it."

Its great to see all these Richmond bands giving their time to play these benefits. Its hard to make it as a local band and each gig is valuable time and money to those bands so its a real tribute to them that they are willing and able to do these shows.

Also on Saturday, THE MACHINE: PINK FLOYD EXPERIENCE will celebrate the 30th Anniversary of THE WALL by performing the entire THE WALL Album and a set of GREATEST PINK FLOYD HITS w/an Interstellar Light Show at The National. Doors open at 7, show starts at 8, tix are $15 in advance, $18 at the door. Here's the band performing "Another Brick In The Wall, Part 2":

Finally, Sunday at the Capital Ale House some good ol' blues with the River City Blues Society Presenting Richard Ray Farrell with Pete Ragusa, the drummer formerly with The Nighthawks on drums. The show starts at 3 PM and tix are $8 in advance, $10 day of show. Here's Richard Ray Farrell & Marco Pandolfi doing "Dollar for Dollar":

If you are interested in signing a petition against the Ticketmaster - Live Nation merger, click HERE. If you think your ticket prices are bad now, if these two corporations get together it'll be real ugly.

If you aren't already watching the show Spectacle with Elvis Costello on the Sundance Channel(and you should be) Bruce Springsteen is on the latest show in two parts. The first part debuted last night and part 2 will be next Wednesday but they repeat them a lot so be sure to catch them.

I'll leave you tonight with this video to raise awareness about the genocide and refugee situation in Sudan. Its called "A Beat For Peace" and features some drummers you may know (Nick Mason, Stewart Copeland and others). In 2011, a referendum will determine whether or not the Southern region of Sudan becomes independent from the North. Experts fear that instability in the run-up to the referendum or its aftermath could reignite a civil war and cause massive human rights abuses unless international efforts are intensified to find a peaceful path through the next 12 months. If you are a drummer, you can post a video reply to this on YouTube (in your video description add a line about who's doing the drumming and where it's happening, then tag it with 'Sudan365' and 'beat for peace'). They'll take the best responses they receive and mix them into a final video - containing clips of drummers from across the globe - to demonstrate the support for international action to prevent further conflict.

Have a great weekend!

Tony Jordan