Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Phish 3D review, Porcupine Tree, Sharon Jones & Dap-Kings, John Prine, Skydog

Quick review of the Phish 3D movie.  Enjoyed the movie quite a bit, all of it filmed at their Halloween weekend, Festival 8.  The 3D was most effective on the floating over the crowd shots or long shots of the stage, didn't seem to make much of a difference on the "on stage" shots.  The movie was also 99% concert with little to no backstage banter, interviews or crowd shots.  Some reviews or postings I read complained about this but I was quite happy with that.  In most concert movies, that stuff kills time when I would rather being hearing music and/or makes the band seem pompous and vain.  After an opening of "AC/DC Bag", the movie really kicks in with a great version of the newer song "Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan" which builds to a nice climax on the back of a Trey solo.  "Tweezer" was another highlight in the first electric "set" of the movie.  It starts as great riff rock and then evolves into an ambient, funky jam.  "Maze" & "Mike's Song" where next with "Mike's Song" getting nice and funky. 

Next came what I thought was the weakest part of the movie, footage from the daytime acoustic set they did at the festival.  The music was nice enough but when they play acoustic the band's lyrics, never too deep or meaningful, more of the surreal, humorous or "set the mood" lyrical mode, are laid bare.  "Strange Design" is decent, but I must confess, I got kind of sleepy during the acoustic section.  The rocking "Wilson" was interesting when played acoustic but never seemed to catch fire compared with the normal electric version.

The final section of the movie was selections from the set where the band covered the Stones' "Exile on Main Street" as their Halloween "costume".  With the addition of a horn section and backup singers Sharon Jones (more on her later) and Saundra Williams.  "Loving Cup", often played by Phish, rocks.  "Happy" starts as kind of a lark, with drummer Fishman singing.  Fishman is not the best singer, but that's part of the joke as they usually let him do one song a show.  However, the band locks in with the horn section and really grooves on this one.  "Shine a Light" and "Soul Survivor" are very powerful performances with Sharon Jones and Saundra Williams shining, eliciting big grins from guitarist Trey Anastasio.  Sharon & Saundra also really kick ass on a version of Phish's "Suzy Greenberg" which is just a lot of fun.  The movie then ends with a typical pulse-raising version of "Tweezer Reprise". 

Basically, if you are a Phish fan, you'll like the move.  If you're not, the movie probably won't change your mind about them.  I am looking forward to the DVD version with hopefully lots more from the "Exile" set.

Speaking of Ms. Sharon Jones, she will be in town with her band, The Dap-Kings, on Thursday night at Maymont for the first show in the Groovin' In the Garden series.  I really wish I could go to this one, but unfortunately, I'm unable to attend.  Doors will open at 5:30, the opener, DJ Williams Projekt, starts around 6 and Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings will be on around 7:30.  Tix are $20 in advance, $25 at the door.  Sharon is a sassy, energetic, old school R&B singer backed by funk/soul band, the Dap-Kings, who backed Amy Winehouse on much of her breakthrough album, "Back to Black".  Here they are a couple nights ago on Letterman doing "I Learned the Hard Way":

Friday night, Friday Cheers on Brown's Island kicks off with country singer Lee Brice.  Entry cost is $2 for those 13 and older.  Show starts at 6:30 with opener Puddleduck.  Here's what the Cheers web site has to say about Lee:
"When Lee Brice first entered the country consciousness with the Top 30 hit “She Ain’t Right” in 2007, his voice carrying over FM radio waves like honey trickling through lines of melody etched in leather, his rugged sound and raw emotion spoke for a new generation of Nashville recording artists. “I love what I’m hearing on the radio today,” Brice said. “People aren’t trying to be perfect or slick anymore. It reminds me of records back in the day, when everything sounded like it was played live. I’d love it if someday people could look back on what I’m doing now too and say, ‘When Lee Brice came around, something changed in a positive way.’” As follow-up singles “Happy Endings,” “Upper Middle Class White Trash,” and “Love Like Crazy” have doggedly climbed the charts, Brice has continued to change the landscape of country with images inspired by the Carolina backcountry where he was raised."

Here is his big country hit, "Love Like Crazy":

Saturday night, country/folk singer-songwriter, John Prine will be at the Carpenter Center.  The show starts at 8 PM, and tickets are $49.50 - 59.50.  The Felice Brothers will be opening.  If you are wondering about John Prine's influence, there will be a tribute album, "Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows" coming out June 22nd with following artist doing his songs: My Morning Jacket, The Avett Brothers, Conor Oberst And The Mystic Valley Band, Old Crow Medicine Show, Lambchop, Josh Ritter, the Drive-By Truckers, Nickel Creek’s Sara Watkins, Deer Tick featuring Liz Isenburg, Justin Townes Earle, Those Darlins and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon

Here's John doing his song "Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore" at the Philly Folk Festival in 2004:

Local Allman Brothers tribute band, Skydog, will be playing at The Camel on Saturday night at 10 PM.  Cover charge is $7.  Here is the band playing the Canal Club in January doing "Statesboro Blues":

I will be attending the Porcupine Tree show at The National on Tuesday night.  Tix are $26 in advance, $30 day of show, doors open at 7, show starts at 8 with opener Bigelf.  Yes, I know Porcupine Tree is a horrible band name, it was originally meant to be a sort of joke/tribute to 70's prog rock bands but it ended up sticking.  P-Tree is a progressive rock band influenced by Pink Floyd, early Genesis, King Crimson, Tangerine Dream, Neu!, Can, CSNY, Rush, Yes, and modern ambient and techno music.  My brothers-in-law really dig them and I've been listening to them now too.  Sounds like it should be a good show.  Here's their song "Time Flies" from their latest album, "The Incident":

Sia will be at the National on Friday night.  Doors open at 8, show starts at 9 with opener Girl in a Coma.  Tix are $20 in advance, $25 at the door.  Sounds like Nelly Furtado, Lauryn Hill, Dido, Sarah McLachlan, Christina Aguilera, Beth Orton, Jonatha Brooke.  Here's her song "Clap Your Hands":

That's it for this week.  See you at the P-Tree show!

I'll leave you with this just because.

Have a great weekend!

Tony Jordan