Monday, April 25, 2016

Memories of Prince, Weekend Picks: WRIR Barndance Bonanza, New Mastersounds, Laura Stevenson, Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds, Citizen Cope, Sleepwalkers, Ricky Skaggs

Have to start with memories of Prince. I know you've read a million appreciations over the last few days but I have to get mine down. Prince came along for me just when I was entering high school. I had a pop/disco phase when I first discovered pop music in elementary, discovered classic rock in middle school and in 1982, I was letting pop music back into my daily playlist thanks to MTV and a new FM Top 40 station in Philly.

When I heard "Little Red Corvette" on MTV, it incorporated pop and rock and more, as I was feeling the funk too, though I may not have known it yet. I bought "1999" and played the first side. Well, there's the hits, and amazing hits they are, but there are still 3 sides left. As those next 3 sides, unfolded my musical mind and teenage hormones were expanded. "Let's Pretend We're Married" starts with a funky keyboard riff and some weird shaker percussion sounds as the foundation but then...whoa, did he just say to that woman what I think he said? Can you say that on a record? Did my mom hear that? Does that work if I say it to girl? (I would later find out, Only Prince can get away with saying that to a girl and it actually working. Luckily, the girl forgave me.)

Side 3 gets even weirder with "Automatic" and "Something in the Water (Does Not Compute)". Sounds put together in ways I had never heard, screams of passion and pain, that guitar solo after the woman moans "I'm going to have to torture you now". Side 4's "Lady Cab Driver" with anonymous sex in the back of a cab. "All The Critics Love U in New York"...this was music from a different planet! And then he brings us all in for a safe and sexy landing with "International Lover".

My mind was blown. This was was a world where anything was possible, where everything could be pulled in, assimilated and released in new and amazing ways. And, as a 13 year old, I realized this was a world where there was sex, sex I'd been thinking about and it could actually happen, and you could be sexy and playful and strong and loving and dirty all at the same time.

From that point on, I was a huge Prince fan. I bought everything because I had to hear everything this brilliant artist put out. I got the B-sides and especially the 12" singles. The 12" singles weren't just remixes, they were Prince & the Revolution playing the songs longer, working the songs main groove and finding new ones, extending guitar solos and piano breaks. For someone who would end up liking jam bands so much, Prince helped start me on that course.

Prince's world view also informed me. He imagined a world where everyone could be themselves and follow their muse. It was a world where race didn't matter ("White, Black, Puerto Rican, everybody's just a freakin'"). It was a world where if you believed in love and good, you would find others like yourself.
The girl on the seesaw is laughing
4 love is the color
This place imparts (Paisley Park)
Admission is easy, just say U
Believe and come 2 this
Place in your heart
Paisley Park is in your heart

Prince was one of those artists who I felt like I grew up with. His great six album run, one of the greatest in rock history ("1999", "Purple Rain", "Around the World in a Day", "Parade", "Sign O' the Times", "Black Album" (I had the bootleg, of course)), corresponded with my formative years in high school and college. I bought all those albums after "1999" on the first day of release and I would sit and listen to them for hours that day, deciphering every word, reveling in the new sounds he would come up with, dancing to the new groove.

I've continued buying all of his albums right up to the new one I got three weeks ago ("HITnRUN Phase 2"). One of the things that made me saddest about his death was that we aren't going to get to grow old together now. I thought I would get to download his latest album to my iBrain when I was 80 and get to hear his ruminations on old age and sex in the nursing home. But it was not to be.

So I'll listen to the music over the next few weeks. I'll think about listening to "Around the World in a Day" the first day I got it while I watched a thunderstorm roll in outside my bedroom window. I'll think about the times I got to see him live and how he rose from underneath the stage as "Let's Go Crazy" started the first time I saw him on the "Purple Rain" tour. I'll remember dancing around my bedroom in high school and I'll dance around the room now. I'll remember making love to, and sometimes just passionately fu**ing, women while his music played and I'll remember their faces, their bodies, the wind and the rain. I'll think about his dreams and mine and wonder if they'll come true. And I'll say thanks for his guidance and his groove. We'll have to take it from here.

Onto the weekend picks.

I hope you all gave to WRIR-FM over the fund drive the last couple weeks. The fund drives closes on Tuesday with a the Barn Dance Bonanza at The Camel from 5 PM - 9 PM. Jackass Flats & the Rock and Roll Jubilee (who will do some Merle Haggard, Cramps, Ray Condo, Faron Young, Richie Valens, surf twang and more) will perform live and the show will be simulcast on WRIR. If you already made a donation during the fund drive, you are on the guest list. If you didn't, it's a donation of $5 (or more, if you're feelin' it) at the door. This will be a family friendly event so you can bring kids. Here's a little taste of Jackass Flats.

After the WRIR party, you can head down to The Broadberry to see jazz/pop/funk/soul band The New Mastersounds with Moon Hooch opening. Doors open at 8, show starts at 9. Tix are $18 advance, $20 day of show. The New Mastersounds have a new album, "The Nashville Session", out. Don't be surprised if DJ Williams sits in at some point as they recently did a show with the band DJ plays with, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe. Here's a track from "The Nashville Sessions", "In the Middle":

Pop/folk singer/songwriter Laura Stevenson is at Strange Matter Thursday night. This is an early show with doors at 6 PM. Crying & Chris Farren open. Tix are $12 advance, $14 day of show. The show Thursday may find her with a full band but here she is performing "Happier Etc." solo:

Bluegrass singer/songwriter Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder are at The Beacon Theatre in Hopewell Thursday. Tix range from $30 - $80. Doors open at 6, show starts around 7 and there is no opener. Here's some old Ricky doing "Country Boy":

Soulful blues/Americana band Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds are headlining a great double bill with Major & the Monbacks on Thursday at The Broadberry. Doors open at 8, show starts at 9. If you like Grace Potter (before the pop), Bonnie Raitt or Tedeschi/Trucks Band, you might want to catch Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds. Tix are $12 advance, $15 day of show. They just posted a NPR Tiny Desk Concert today:

Citizen Cope bring his world music influenced jams to The National Saturday for "an intimate solo acoustic listening performance". This is a seated show and tix run from $23 to $38. Doors open at 7, show starts at 8 and there is no opener listed. Here he is playing for Aspen radio station KSPN a couple weeks ago:

Rockin' RVA band Sleepwalkers rock at The Broadberry Saturday night. Tix are $$10 advance, $12 at the door. Doors open at 8, show starts at 9 with The Mad Extras and Gold Light open. Sleepwalkers are another RVA band making it good. This is a pre-tour, hometown show before they head out on the road opening for The Lumineers.

That'll do it. I'll see you at the WRIR Party for sure! I'll leave you with one more Prince tune, one of my many favorites. The tune originally appeared on the Graffiti Bridge album. Here's Prince performing with a band that includes Larry Graham (Sly & the Family Stone) on bass, Maceo Parker (James Brown) on sax, Candy Dulfer on sax and some incendiary guitar playing from Prince. The video quality isn't great but the sound is not bad. Long live the Prince.

Tony Jordan

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Weekend Picks: RVA Earth Day Festival, AlterNatives Bluegrass & Brews, Stoned As Funk, True Widow, Boogarins, Pujol, Jake Shimabukuro, Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band

What do you get when Trongone Band, DJ Williams and sax player Ron Holloway (he's currently a member of the Warren Haynes Band, and has played with Susan Tedeschi, Dizzy Gillespie, Gil Scott-Heron, and Root Bot Slim) get together to play Stones tunes? You get Stoned as Funk and they'll play Wednesday night at The Broadberry. Doors open at 8 and Dangermuffin kicks things off musically at 8:30. Trongone Band will do a set of originals and then the big Stones set with their special guests. Things should end before midnight so we can all get home and still get to work tomorrow. Here's Trongone Band with Ron and some other horny friends a year ago doing Little Feat's "Spanish Moon > Skin It Back":

At Capital Ale House, Wednesday AND Thursday night, Hawaiian ukulele player Jake Shimabukuro will perform. Doors open at 7, show starts at 8 and no opener is listed. Tix are $45 - $55. Here's the press blurb on Jake:
Ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro has taken the four-string, two-octave instrument to places no one has gone before, performing awesome music that ranges from jazz, blues, and rock to bluegrass, classical, and folk. His live concerts are an out-of-the-box blend of stunning virtuosity, deep musicality and a natural entertainer's flair.
Jake got his start at age four, when his mother gave him his first ukulele lesson. Fascinated by the instrument, he eventually began playing regularly at a local café, where his talent and reputation blossomed. Fast-forward several years and Jake now has his own record label, and tours extensively in the U.S. and Japan.
Jake has completely rewritten the book on the possibilities of the ukulele -- and is adding new chapters with every CD he records.
 Here's Jake and his jazzy take on The Beatles' "While My Guitar Gently Weeps":

Garage rock n' rollers Pujol are at Strange Matter Wednesday. The Milkstains, Cherry Pits and Fat Spirit open. Doors open at 9, cover is $8. Here's Pujol doing a few songs at WKNC six months ago.

Friday night, Talking Heads tribute band Fear of Music is at The Broadberry. Doors open at 8, show starts at 9. No opener is listed. Tix are $12 advance, $15 at the door. Depending on how much drugs you take, it could look exactly like this:

Blues band The Bush League is at Sonny's Bar & Grill in Lakeside Friday night. They'll start around 8:30. Doesn't look like there is a cover, but don't hold me to that. Here's Bush League doing "Show Your Off" at The Camel in October. You can also catch them at The Camel on Sunday.  They'll be doing Blues Brunch from noon to 3 PM.

Hardywood will host trippy stonegaze band True Widow Friday night. Sinister Haze and Slimy Member open. This will be Sinister Haze's last show ever. Doors open at 9:30, show starts at 10, it's $10 to get in. Here's True Widow's "S:H:S":

RVA Earth Day Festival goes down on Saturday in Manchester (the 200 block of Hull Street, to be exact). It'll run from noon until 7 and it looks like the Earth is going to grant us a pretty nice to be outside to enjoy the music, food, art, beer. learn how to be kind to the Earth and help FeedRVA (proceeds are benefiting them). Here's the lineup musically:

Here's Everwilde doing their original, "Summer Night":

There's a whole lotta bluegrass at the AlterNatives Bluegrass & Brews Festival. It's FREE to get in and will take place behind AlterNatives Boutique in Carytown (3320 W Cary). Proceeds benefit the Highland Support Project which helps build safe, fuel-efficient stoves for people in the Gutamalan Highlands which is good on a health level, self-empowerment level and environmentally. Beer tickets are $5, raffle tickets are $2. The fun starts at 11 AM and goes until 11 PM. Here's the music line up:

  • The Hot Seats Duo - 12:15pm-1:15pm
  • Western Avenue (from DC) - 1:30pm-2:30pm
  • Stu Kindle - 2:45pm-4:00pm
  • Redleg Husky (from Asheville) - 4:15pm-5:30pm
  • Clay Spokes - 5:45pm-7:00pm
  • The Atkinsons - 7:15pm-8:45pm
  • Cutch Tuttle & Hound Dog Hill - 9:00pm-10:50pm
Hardywood celebrates the release of  Tropication India Pale Ale with a party that gets underway at 2 PM. The live music starts at 5 PM with Blanks (gazey pop), Bad Magic, Peace Beast (dream psych pop), and Boogarins will close out the show. Boogarins are a Brazilian psych pop band and even if you don't understand what the words they are singing, you can just let their fine music wash over you. Here they are playing "San Lorenzo":

Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band will make a hell of a lot of righteous noise at Capital Ale House downtown Saturday night. Doors open at 8, Barstool Heroes open the show at 9. Tix are $10 in advance, $12 at the door. If their brand of high energy country blues, doesn't make for a fine Saturday night hootenanny jamboree then I don't know what does. Here's the band in Chicago last month:

Have a great weekend! I'll see you at Stoned as Funk Wednesday and then I could hit any number of places on Saturday but I'm definitely leaning toward that show at Hardywood. I'll leave you with some 2003 Pearl Jam. They did a great version of this song last night in Hampton Coliseum as part of their 3 hour plus, 33 song set. Great show!

Tony Jordan

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Weekend Picks: Puscifer, Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, Kings, WRIR Fund Drive, Coachella webcast

If you are hanging at home this weekend, the live webcast from Coachella is going on at YouTube all weekend. All the bands without the heat stroke. They'll have 3 live channels so you can pick the band you want to see. It all starts Friday at 6:30 PM ET. The schedule isn't posted yet, but you can view it tomorrow.

Here at home, funk/soul band KINGS will rule at The Camel Friday night. Doors open at 8, show starts at 9. Tix are $8 advance, $10 day of show. Ohbliv, Charles Owens Quartet, & DJ Rattan will open. It's tax day so you can dance those givin' $ to Uncle Sam blues away.

Sunday night at Broadberry, get down with pop rockers Thao & The Get Down Stay Down. Avers is opening the show (where have they been hiding?) along with Little Scream. Doors open at 7, show starts at 8, it's $12 advance, $15 day of show. Thao has a new album out called "A Man Alive". They are getting some buzz, opening for Death Cab for Cutie later this summer and Paste Magazine named them one of the best bands at this year's SXSW. They are also hitting a number of festivals such as Interstellar Rodeo (Winnipeg), 80/35 (Des Moines), Pickathon (Oregon) and Mamby on the Beach (Chicago). Here they are doing "Bag of Hammers" at SXSW. I hope they bring the taco hats with them.

Puscifer, led by Tool's Maynard James Keenan, is at The National Monday night. Tix are $38 in advance, $43 day of show. Doors open at 7, show starts at 8 and no opener is listed. If you like poster art, be sure to check out their Facebook page. They have unique and amazing posters for each show on this tour. And there will be wrestling at the show. I kid you not. From their latest album, "Money Shot", here's "The Remedy" (language NSFW):

And don't forget the WRIR Fund Drive going on through the 26th. They'll have bands playing live in the studio through the whole fund drive and you can stop by the station, drop off your donation (hopefully) and watch a band. Even if you can't make it down to the station, you can donate by clicking that link there. Here's the line up:

BandAprilTimeWRIR Program
Pete Curry15 Fri3 p.m.Pop Goes The World
Spooky Cool15 Fri7 p.m.Time is Tight
Black Liquid & The New Juice Crew15 Fri11 p.m.Live from the Audience
No Matter What16 Sat1 p.m.Cause and Effect
Among the Rocks and Roots16 Sat6 p.m.River City Limits
Tin Can Fish Band18 Mon9 p.m.Man in the Gray Flannel Suit
Big Boss Combo19 Tue7 p.m.Edge of Americana
The Clackwells20 Wed7 a.m. (LT)Breakfast Blend
Lobo Marino20 Wed3 p.m.Global A Go-Go
Glass Twin21 Thu5 p.m.Activate!
Joey Kneiser & Kelly Smith21 Thu7 p.m. (LT)New Music Machine
Camp Howard22 Fri7 p.m.Time is Tight
Natalie Tyer22 Fri11 p.m.Live from the Audience
Christi23 Sat9 a.m.British Breakfast
Adwela and The Uprising24 Sun5 p.m.The Motherland Influence
Trio What25 Mon9 p.m.Man in the Gray Flannel Suit
Rock & Roll Jubilee and guests26 Tue* 5 p.m.The 12 Fl. Oz. Show
Jackass Flats26 Tue* 7 p.m.Edge of Americana
LT=Live recording for later broadcast* WRIR Barn Dance Bonanza
*@The Camel1621-A West Broad St, RVA

That's it. Have a great weekend! I'll be seeing Pearl Jam on Monday at Hampton Coliseum. I don't know if they'll bring My Morning Jacket with them so Eddie can perform this Who classic with them, but it would be pretty sweet.

Tony Jordan

Friday, April 8, 2016

Late Night Pick: Dion

Rock n' roll Hall of Famer Dion will be on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon tonight (11:35 PM, NBC). Dion recently said in an article in the Austin Chronicle, “I don’t sing white, I don’t sing black, I sing Bronx”. Here he is singing Bronx in 1958 with the Belmonts:

Here's Aurora on Conan Tuesday night:

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Weekend Picks: Holy Holy, Gregg Allman, Beirut, The Congress, Full Moon Fever, Toxic Moxie, Venus Guytrap, Atta Girl

Get ready for some grrrrl power as three rock bands featuring strong women play Gallery5 Thursday night. Toxic Moxie, Venus Guytrap, and Atta Girl perform at this benefit for Elbow Room, "an inclusive collective aiming to create encouraging spaces for under/misrepresented individuals." Doors open at 7, show starts at 8 and should run until around 11. It's $5 to get in. Here's Toxic Moxie in September:

Over at The National Thursday night, a Bowie tribute with guys who actually played with Bowie. Holy Holy is made up of Tony Visconti (who produced 14 Bowie albums, including his last, "Blackstar"), Woody Woodmansy (who played drums on four Bowie albums and toured with him) along with James Stevenson (The Cult, Gene Loves Jezebel Gen X) guitarist, Paul Cuddeford (Ian Hunter, Bob Geldof), vocalist, Glenn Gregory (Heaven 17), keyboardist Berenice Scott (Heaven 17), sax player Terry Edwards and backup vocalist Jessica Morgan. They were the house band last week for the David Bowie tribute shows at Carnegie Hall. They'll perform the album "The Man Who Sold the World" in its entirety and then do another set of Bowie classics. Doors open at 7, show starts at 8. Tickets are $19.50 to $23 in advance and $25 day of show. Here they are at the Tower Theater in Philly a few nights ago, the venue where Bowie recorded his "David Live" album:

The Congress will be in session at The Broadberry on Friday night. Doors open at 8, show starts at 9 with opener Poser. Tix are $12 advance, $15 day of show. If you are in Rochester NY on June 25, you can see The Congress along with Erykah Badu, Chick Corea, Grace Potter and Gregg Allman. Not bad company. Here's The Congress when they opened for Moon Taxi at The National on January 26 doing a great song called "Walls":

Tom Petty tribute band Full Moon Fever boogies into The Broadberry Saturday night. It's $8 advance, $10 day of show. Doors open at 8, show starts at 9 with opener Patrick Bates. Full Moon Fever features members of Richmond bands Goldrush, Long Arms, Horsehead and other getting together to honor one of America's greatest rock n' rollers. I was just listening to the great version of this song TP & the Heartbreakers did at Lockn' a couple years ago. This is "Woman In Love" performed on Tom Snyder's show in 1981:

Gregg Allman plays at The National on Sunday night. There are very few tickets left so if you want to go and you didn't get them yet, don't wait on it. Tix run from $40 to $75. Doors open at 6:30, show starts at 7:30 with opener Gabriel Kelley. Gregg has started his own festival, the Laid Back Festival, which will play five one day performances throughout the country this summer (Atlanta, Nashville, Chicago, NYC, and Red Rocks, CO). There are different lineups for each show and bands include ZZ Top. Blackberry Smoke, Shovels & Rope, Jaimoe's Jasssz Band, Peter Frampton, Jason Isbell, America, and Marshall Tucker Band. Hopefully there will be lots of great collaborations like this one at Telluride Blues & Brews Festival last year when Taj Mahal sat in with Gregg's band for a fantastic version of "Statesboro Blues":

Folk/pop/indie rock band Beirut will be at The National Monday night. Tix are $23 advance, $26 day of show. Doors open at 6:30, show stars at 7:30 and no opener is listed. You might dig Beirut if you like DeVotchKa, The Decemberists, The Smiths, David Byrne, or Calexico. Here they are performing "Fener" from their latest album "No No No":

That's it. Have a great weekend! I'll leave you with this smooth yacht rock from Little River Band, Be sure to ignore and turn off the stupid annotations:

Tony Jordan

Late Night Pick: Aurora

Dark pop electronic alternative indie singer-songwriter, Aurora, is on Conan tonight (TBS, 11 PM). Her first album, "All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend" came out on 3/11 and it's getting great reviews so far. Aurora hails from Bergen, Norway and it appears this video was filmed in Norway. This is "Runaway" from her new album:

Here's Explosions in the Sky on last night's Late Show:

Monday, April 4, 2016

Late Night Pick: Explosions in the Sky

Post-rock, all instrumental band Explosions in the Sky will be on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert tonight (CBS, 11:35 PM). Their new album, "The Wilderness" came out on Friday. Here's "Your Hand in Mine", which appeared on their second album, 2003's "The Earth Is Not a Cold, Dead Place":

Here's Weezer performing "King of the World" on the Tonight Show last week: