Thursday, February 28, 2008

I Can't Stand it!!

Well I couldn't take it anymore....

This week I am in the bizarre "Twin Peeks"-like town of Ocala, Florida staying somewhere without a computer. As I type this to you, I am sitting in the public library catching up on my web surfing. I feel much better now, thank you. After the third day of no Internet access, I began to twitch and get dizzy. I haven't been addicted to many things in my life, but apparently I am now full blown Internet addict. Wow, that felt good to get out of my system. "My name is David Connell and I am addicted to the Internets". Anyway, you don't come here to read my personal BS. You want some pop culture content right? Since my library access has a countdown clock expiring in 15 minutes, I have to type fast!

Without access to a computer lately I don't have much to report, but I did have a nice surprise waiting for me when I checked my email today. The fine folks at Wilco HQ have sent a message saying that not only is tonight's Wilco show being streamed on, but the best band in the land will be appearing on Saturday Night Live this week. Having been a Wilco fan since the beginning, I am not sure how I feel about this. This week will be hosted by the rising star Ellen Page(Juno), so I would imagine the show will have good ratings. I guess if it gets one more person to realize how great Wilco is, then more power to them. The selfish side of me misses the days when I would rant about this great band called Wilco and people would have no clue who I was talking about. Part of growing up is learning to share. I guess we now have to share Wilco too. I can live with that...

See you soon when I get back to the frozen tundra of Wisconsin. Until then, greetings from Florida.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

See you soon....

So this week I will be out of town with no access to the Internet. That alone is a totally frightening thought for me. Like, what the hell am I going to do frightening! I figure it can only be a good thing not to stare at a computer for a week, no? Maybe I will actually finish the "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" book I have been reading for about a year. Well, I promise I will keep posting when I get back so please keep checking in for my rants. In the meantime, I leave you with some great things to watch. Enjoy!

This is from the film "Festival Express", which documents a 1970 train tour through Canada which included The Band, The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Buddy Guy among others. You think they partied?! Oh to be a fly on the wall but this is close. Watch a VERY messed up Rick Danko, Janis Joplin, and Jerry Garcia with friends have a blast singing the classic "Ain't no More Cain".

This is a very hairy My Morning Jacket blowing the doors off of the Conan O"Brien set. I resisted getting into this band until I saw this performance. Just a total wow TV performance. Below it is a very dapper performance from Letterman kicking it with The Boston Pops.

This is one of my favorite performances of all time. I still get goosebumps and I've seen it over 100 times. Sinead O'Conner live performing "Troy from 1987.

Another one of my all time favorites. David Bowie and Sonic Youth performing "I'm Afraid of Americans" during his 50'Th B-day concert.

As if there was any doubt, here is proof that The Clash were one of the best bands of all time.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The bus came by and I got on......

Everyone remembers their first time. Their one true love. Well, this post is about the first time I ever heard The Grateful Dead. Corny as this post may seem, their music changed my life. Let me start by saying that since that fateful day, I have not gone more than a week or two without listening to their music in some fashion. Jerry and the boys opened up for me a whole different way of listening to music and their music was instrumental in opening my mind to the likes of Ornette Coleman, Johnny Cash, Howling Wolf. and Bill Monroe.

I can't remember the first time I heard most of my favorite artists; The Beatles, The Stones, Dylan, Husker Du, or Bowie but I sure remember the sheer joy of hearing The Dead sing "Box of Rain" for the first time. Unlike most kids with cool older siblings, this only child did not hear a note of Grateful Dead music until 1987; my freshman year in college. I can honestly say that as much of a music fan as I thought I was, I didn't even know The Grateful Dead existed. They were never played on radio stations and none of my friends seem to be into that world. All the more shocking considering my parents were progressive music listeners whose collection contained everything from Ritchie Havens to Captain Beefheart. Years later my mom told me she thought only bikers listened to The Dead. Classic!

Anyway, back to 1987...

So I'm hanging out in my new-found hippie friend's smoky dorm room. While staring at his wall of Dead tapes, I reveal to him that I have never heard The Dead. This blew his mind (it didn't take much) and he asked where I was from. I told him Chicago. So he gets right up, goes to the wall of tapes, and pulls out 04-10-1987-UIC Pavilion, Chicago, IL-Set II.

Iko Iko, Looks Like Rain, Box Of Rain, He's Gone>Drums > Space > The Other One > Black Peter > Around And Around > Turn On Your Lovelight
Encore It's All Over Now, Baby Blue

From the moment I heard Jerry Garcia's joyful guitar and the crowd reaction when the he gives the first "HEY NOW" in "Iko Iko"; I was hooked for life. The music just seemed to be everything I was searching for but never knew. Happy, sad, progressive, beautiful, angry, classic sounds all rolled into one unique package. I sat there for the next 90 minutes with a huge grin in my face feeling I'd just discovered the key to divine joy and enlightenment. From that moment on, I saw them live whenever I got the chance (40 + shows) until the sad, final show on 7-9-1995. I'm sure some of those stories are to come in future posts.

I now own thousands of shows on video, hard drive, CD, and cassette; but my copy of 4-10-1987 is still the crown jewel in the collection. I would say it is the perfect show to initiate any virgin to The Dead's music. It isn't one of their far-out jammy shows by any means. It has an amazing amount of band/crowd energy and is one of those nights where the band and crowd seemed to be completely in sync. A bonus is the playing is top notch throughout. It's the kind of Dead show that kept people coming back any chance they could. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have and just maybe it will change someone's life like it changed mine....

Some Highlights from Set 2:
Iko Iko: The shear joy you can hear in the audience during this tune is unlike anything I'd ever heard before.
Looks Like Rain: Jerry's mournful guitar lines are just heartbreaking along side Bob Weir's passionate singing.
Box Of Rain: Hearing them sing the "A Box of Rain will ease the pain and love will see you through" part is still spine tingling for me.
He's Gone: "Nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile!
The Other One: Phil's thunderous bass and Garcia's propelling guitar riffs rock as hard and any heavy metal band. Dig the interplay between keyboardist Brent Midland and Jerry Garcia before the first verse.
Black Peter: Jerry sings the hell out of one of my favorites. If this doesn't get you then you have no soul.
Turn On Your Lovelight: The joy is simply contagious.
It's All Over Now, Baby Blue: Hearing Jerry sing Dylan is always a treat. The perfect end to a perfect set.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Wilco Storms Chicago

The best band on the planet (WILCO) continues its 5 night residency in Chicago this week. Apparently, the goal is to cover all of their 81 album tracks over the course of the 5 days plus other rarities. This should really be something special for the fans in attendance and proves that Wilco is one of the kindest bands to their fans. During the first two nights, the band had musical comrade Andrew Bird join on violin for a few and treated fans to the rarities "Candyfloss", the Mermaid Ave outtake "When the Roses Bloom Again", and the A.M. classics "It's just That Simple", "Dash 7, and "Too Far Apart". You can read about all the shows on Chicago Tribune writer Greg Kot's blog page. And for those who do the download thing; great recordings of the shows are already up on the bt.etree download site.

As a bonus, enjoy this awesome video of the rarely played "Pot Kettle Black" from the 2/15/08 show.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Politics Rock!

I always find the use of music in political campaigns very interesting. Remember when Ronald Reagan thought using "Born in the USA" was a good idea to show how wonderfully patriotic he was? Talk about missing the point. Sometimes the choices are inspired; like John Edwards using the uplifting Ryan Adams song "Firecracker" this year during a stop in North Carolina (Adams' home town). And how perfect was Bill Clinton's use of Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop" in the 90's Even I caught the optimistic fever of his campaign.

Of course, the melding of politics and music doesn't always go so well. The fact that Hillary is currently using a Celine Dion song in her campaign may just cost her my vote in Wisconsin next week (among other reasons).

My favorite melding of politics and music is when the candidates use an artist's song without their permission. Last week, John Mellencamp told John McCain to stop using his tune "Pink Houses"(how unoriginal can you get McCain?) and yesterday Boston frontman Tom Scholz told Mike Huckabee to quit using "More than a Feeling"("Don't Look Back" would have been SO much cooler). By the way, when Huckabee isn't using Boston, he's cranking up the Nascar vote with "Sweet Home Alabama". Yee-haw!

Here is the "OH SNAP" quote from Scholz:
"Boston has never endorsed a political candidate, and with all due respect, would not start by endorsing a candidate who is the polar opposite of most everything Boston stands for," wrote Scholz, adding that he is supporting Democratic senator Barack Obama."

By the way, Barack is currently using U2's "City of Blinding Lights" for his campaign. Is there anything Bono can't make perfect?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Tunes Under the Radar

How many great songs has Bob Dylan written? Far too many for me to count. In fact, Bob means so much to me that I am almost unable to be objective about his craft. For example; I love his album "Self-Portrait" that according to Dylan fanatics and critics, I am supposed to hate. I think "New Morning" is one of his best albums and no one agrees with me on that one either. So anything you ever read on this site about Bob Dylan has to be taken with a grain of salt. For the record, I am that far gone as to enjoy 1988's "Down in the Groove". That one was truly shit.

This bring us to the song called "Cross the Green Mountain". The song is a 12 verse, 8 minute masterpiece that Bob contributed to the civil war film "Gods and Generals" soundtrack in 2003. Unfortunately many people, Dylan fans included; have never heard the track. Full of biblical imagery; the song is a dying soldier's lament and it's as haunting and beautiful as anything Dylan has done. It was recorded with Dylan's touring band at the time, and has a sleepy atmosphere similar to the "Time Out of Mind" record. Like that album, this song has a timeless quality to it where you aren't sure if it's from the early 1900's or the 21'st century. I would post the lyrics, but you have to listen to the track to truly appreciate them. I hope you enjoy this under heard Dylan treasure as much as I do.

Bob Dylan-Cross the Green Mountain

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

"Supernatural Superserious"


Behold a new REM single and video. It's really the song I'm excited about, which is called "Supernatural Superserious". This tune is a breath of fresh 'rock and roll' air from a band I was worried forgot how to do it. After the downbeat and dreary sound on REM's last 3 discs, I cannot tell how great it is for me to hear Stipe's voice along with some electric guitar and pounding drums. Dare I say this sounds like something from their 1987 masterpiece, "Document"? Ok, I will. This sounds like it could have been pulled right off that album and I couldn't be happier. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Meeting of the Minds

So why are two of my favorite artists (Ryan Adams and Kim Gordon) sitting together for Fashion Week in NYC? I have no idea, but this picture makes me think silly thoughts. Here's some of them....

1. If Ryan makes a move, could Thurston Moore kick his ass? I say absolutely!
2. Why is Ryan at Fashion Week looking like he stepped out of a stoner basement party Circa-1984?
3. I bet Kim Gordon (at 54 years of age) was hotter than any other woman at Fashion Week.
4. Ryan probably wrote 10 death metal songs from the time he sat down to the time he stood up.

In honer of this wonderful meeting of the minds, here is a version of Ryan Adams & The Cardinals rocking out Sonic Youth's classic "Expressway to YR Skull".
8-3-2006, Indianapolis, IN

Here is Kim looking amazing doing her "Kool Thing" with Sonic Youth from 6-14-02 in Sweden.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Songs Dave Likes

Since I am still numb from the excitement of last nights Grammy Awards show, I thought I would just put up some songs I've been grooving on lately.

Bob Marley and The Wailers-Caution
This is a great Wailers single from 1970 that I just heard for the first time today. You can find it on the amazing "Songs of Freedom" box set. Being a cold February in Wisconsin, this song is just what I needed to lift my spirits. I think Paul Simon has heard this once or twice because it sure sounds a lot like his "Mother and Child Reunion" track. Just listen to that killer reggae-surf-style guitar and you gotta love Bob singing "Hit me from the top, you crazy Motherfunky". The only bad thing about this is that it's 3 minutes too short.

Rickie Lee Jones-Show Biz Kids
This is one of my favorite covers by the tragically underrated Rickie Lee Jones. She not only has impeccable taste in covers (check her 2 covers discs "Pop Pop" and "It's Like This"), but she completely makes them her own. Dig her beatnik take on this Steely Dan classic. And if you don't own Rickie's original album "Pirates", you need to open a new browser window and go buy a copy. You will thank me later.

Windmill-Tokyo Moon
Thanks to Blogs much cooler than mine, I have discovered some great bands lately. Check out the debut album from Windmill called "Puddle City Racing Lights". Windmill is basically the brainchild and project of one Matthew Dillon. This amazing CD has an art-rock heart but without the pretension. This is anthem rock for people who never go see The Who and have no friends. Enjoy the opening track of the CD.

Levon Helm-The Mountain
Levon Helm is one of my favorite voices in all of music. And we almost lost it forever. In early 2000 when Levon was diagnosed with throat cancer everyone assumed he would never sing again. Boy were we wrong. Levon released the Grammy Award winning "Dirt Farmer" last year and it is truly a joy to listen to from start to finish. As big of a Steve Earle fan as I am, Levon's cover of Earle's "The Mountain" just slays the original in every way.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Let's Dance?

David Bowie is one of my top 5 artists of all time. His music was played on my stereo growing up more than any other. Yes, I even own BOTH "Tin Machine" cassettes. As far as I was concerned, he could do no wrong.....until I saw this abomination! This would be Bowie in 1975 pushing his "Young Americans" album on the Cher show. This would be Bowie and Cher doing a medley of some of the worst song choices ever. This would be the best advertisement against cocaine EVER. If you can make it through all 6 minutes, you may be a bigger Bowie fan then I am. Ingest something strong and hold on tight....

Friday, February 8, 2008

Grammy Out of Control

Ah...the Grammy Awards. The "Oscars" of the music industry. And just like the Oscars, it is a night that should mean nothing to anyone except the artists; but seems to mean plenty to us music geeks. The airs this Sunday night, and at this point I think I only watch it out of some weird mental obligation. I think I have watched every Grammy Awards show since I was 6 years old. I was there when "I Write the Songs" by Barry Manilow won Song of the Year. I remember the excitement in the air when "Starland Vocal Band" won Best New Artist. Who can forget Christopher Cross owning the 1980 ceremonies (Song of the Year, Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Best New Artist)?! It sure has been great to watch how he's developed as an artist all these years. Of course, the most famous Grammy snafu was Jethro (flute solos) Tull beating out Metallica for Best Heavy Metal Artist in 1989. It was truly a "WTF" moment in Grammy history. Seeing how these awards are supposedly voted on by artists and producers in the record industry, it is always mind-boggling how wrong some the choices can be. For example, this year a Joni Mitchell tribute album is nominated for Album of the Year. Well...Joni actually released her OWN stellar album this year folks!

Because I am older now and no longer pay very close attention to what is "hip" or popular in the music industry (such as it is these days), I'm probably not the most qualified to comment on what should or shouldn't win. But because it's February and I have Grammy Fever, I'll will try anyway. Here are some of the major categories.

Record of the Year
Irreplaceable - Beyoncé
The Pretender - Foo Fighters
Umbrella - Rihanna Featuring Jay-Z
What Goes Around...Comes Around - Justin Timberlake
Rehab - Amy Winehouse

Trying to gage the pulse of the voters, I would say this will go to either Rihanna or Beyonce. Apparently, those songs are everywhere and the masses love them. I just listened to them for the first time and if these are what pass for great songs these days, I'm glad I don't pay attention. The Foo Fighters make nice, pleasant rock and roll and I'm glad there are still bands out there doing what they do, but best Record of the Year? No way. Justin Timberlake is one talented dude, seems to be Grammy Approved, and the song isn't half bad so it has a strong chance. My personal vote would go to Amy Winehouse. I thought her album was totally original and "Rehab" is catchy as hell. The problem for her of course is her widely publicized drug use. "Rehab" may be the most ironic song since "Hell Bent for Leather". I'm thinking the Grammy's and network TV will want to stay far away from Amy this year and that is a huge shame because she deserves some awards. The fact that she couldn't get a visa to attend the show in person may be another nail in the coffin.

Album of the Year
Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace-Foo Fighters
These Days-Vince Gill
River: The Joni Letters-Herbie Hancock
Graduation-Kanye West
Back To Black-Amy Winehouse

Unless I am completely wrong on the Amy Winehouse backlash, this goes to Kanye West for sure. He is well respected in the industry and the album is really good. Vince Gill should be in the country category, Foo Fighters are not that good, and no one has ever heard of that "Joni Letters" cd.

Song of the Year
Before He Cheats-Josh Kear & Chris Tompkins, songwriters (Carrie Underwood)
Hey There Delilah-Tom Higgenson, songwriter (Plain White T's)
Like A Star-Corinne Bailey Rae, songwriter (Corinne Bailey Rae)
Rehab-Amy Winehouse, songwriter (Amy Winehouse)
Umbrella-Shawn Carter, Kuk Harrell, Terius "Dream" Nash & Christopher Stewart,songwriters (Rihanna Featuring Jay-Z)

This is a writer's award. My pick is "Like a Star", hands down. It has nice, uplifting lyrics and a great neo-soul vibe that sounds classic on first listen. "Before He Cheats" is awful country-pop schlock, "Hey There Delilah" is awful teenybopper pop-rock schlock, "Rehab" is too ironic and will bring unwanted attention to Amy's drug use, and "Umbrella" just plain sucks.

Best New Artist
Taylor Swift
Amy Winehouse

This is the one award I am positive Amy Winehouse will win. Of course, this is always the award the Grammy's seem to F-up the most so who knows. Feist would be another nice choice but Winehouse deserves this one.

OK, did you guys know there are over 100 crazy Grammy categories these days (like Best Urban/Alternative Performance)?! I don't have that much free time to go through them all so let's get to the ones I actually know somthing about....

Best Pop Vocal Album

Lost Highway-Bon Jovi
The Reminder-Feist
It Won't Be Soon Before Long-Maroon 5
Memory Almost Full-Paul McCartney
Back To Black-Amy Winehouse

I don't know what the hell a Pop Vocal album is, but if Paul McCartney doesn't win; it will be criminal:
1. Because he is Paul Freaking McCartney
2. The album blows away the other choices.

Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals
It's Not Over-Daughtry
Working Class Hero-Green Day
If Everyone Cared-Nickelback
Instant Karma-U2
Icky Thump-The White Stripes

Every year I am convinced that certain artists are nominated just in the hopes that they will show up to the ceremony. These nominees prove it. You're telling me there were no better rock songs released this year then 2 lame ass John Lennon remakes by Green Day and U2?? I bet Green Day wins this because they are good for ratings. My personal vote is for The White Stripes because that song (and album) rocked my world and they are 100% more original then anything else here. Nickleback? Daughtry? Paaaleeze!

Best Rock Song
Come On-Lucinda Williams, songwriter (Lucinda Williams)
Icky Thump-Jack White, songwriter (The White Stripes)
It's Not Over-Chris Daughtry, Gregg Wattenberg, Mark Wilkerson & Brett Young, songwriters (Daughtry)
The Pretender-Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Nate Mendel & Chris Shiflett, songwriters (FooFighters)
Radio Nowhere-Bruce Springsteen, songwriter (Bruce Springsteen)

This is another one for the songwriters. The strangest thing to me on this list is "Come On" by Lucinda Williams. Not because I don't think the songs rocks, not because it has the "F" word in it, but because it actually is a great choice that shows that some thought went into picking it. I think this one will go to Bruce Springsteen because they will want to get him on stage and because it is a perfectly written rock song. If anyone else wins this one, I will eat my CD copy of "Magic".

Best Rock Album
Revival-John Fogerty
Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace-Foo Fighters
Magic-Bruce Springsteen
Sky Blue Sky-Wilco

The Grammys ALWAYS vote people in who have been forgotten in past ceremonies. They also seem to vote them in for what usually is not their best work (think "Tears in Heaven-Eric Clapton). John Fogerty will win this category for this exact reason. I don't think John Fogerty has ever won a Grammy before. Look, I love Fogerty and he deserves anything they want to give him, but "Revival" is far from his best. In my opinion, Wilco made the album of the year and deserves this. Problem is, no one outside of music hipsters know who they are. I give the grammys mega-kudos for nominating them in the first place. Springsteen's "Magic" was good and all, but not Best-of material by any standards. This one will be Fogerty's.

Best Alternative Music Album
Alright, Still...-Lily Allen
Neon Bible-Arcade Fire
Wincing The Night Away-The Shins
Icky Thump-The White Stripes

This is a real tough one for me. All 5 artists are great and made good discs this year; although I have no idea why Lily Allen is considered Alternative. My personal favorite in the list is The White Stripes "Icky Thump", but Arcade Fire is the big buzz band these days so the award will go to them. Either way will make me happy as both bands are two of my favorites.

Best Traditional Folk Album
Try Me One More Time-David Bromberg
Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John-Peter Case
Banjo Talkin'-Cathy Fink
Dirt Farmer-Levon Helm
Charlie Louvin-Charlie Louvin

OK, I will admit to not hearing the other four releases but if Levon Helm doesn't win this one it will be a damn crime. Levon's album was in my top 5 of 2007 and it is just a magical thing to listen to. Just for his past work in The Band alone he should win, but "Dirt Farmer" truly deserves it on it's own merits. Look for a future Blog post here praising it in full....

Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album
The Calling-Mary Chapin Carpenter
My Name Is Buddy-Ry Cooder
Washington Square Serenade-Steve Earle
Children Running Through-Patty Griffin
Orphans-Tom Waits

Although I have no freaking idea what this category means exactly, in previous years it has provided some of the best nominees of the entire show. Of course, they don't broadcast this one on TV. It's hard for me to pick this one because I think Steve Earle, Patty Griffin, and Tom Waits all deserve it. My personal choice is Tom Waits because it was 3 CD's of all unreleased materiel and it was all amazing. However, I think Waits' material is too bizarre for the Grammy voters so I'm going out on a limb and picking Patty Griffin to win.

Well, since I admittedly know nothing anymore about Rap, Jazz, Gospal, or Classical; I am calling this quits. Enjoy the show on Sunday if you choose to endure it. Usually there are at least 2 or 3 performances worth checking out and it is always entertaining to listen to everyone thank God. God must get really tired of all the rap artists blaming him (her) for their talents.....

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Jeff Tweedy-Chicago, Il (1/26/2008)

"Wilco" captain Jeff Tweedy played his annual benefit for the Montessori School in Chicago recently and I came across these fantastic You Tube clips from the show. Many thanks to the taper named Heinekren. Enjoy!

Cars Can't Escape:
Family Gardener:
Jay Farrar Story:
Pieholden Suite:
Jesus Etc:

I love Bruce Springsteen-Vol. 1

Like many Bruce fans, it all started for me when I heard those first words from "Thunder Road".

"The screen door slams. Mary's dress waves..."

The entire "Born to Run" album had as much impact on me any book I ever read or film I ever watched. Bruce sang to me about a whole world of characters and situations that seemed almost Shakespearian to these young ears. Years later, I still marvel at how Springsteen can invoke as much human emotion in 5 minutes of song than some people work their whole lives to communicate.

Bruce has always been known for being one of Rock's best live performers. Seeing a good Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band show is what I imagine church must feel like for the believers. You feel sweaty, alive, and you believe in all the power and the glory that life has to offer.

Well, from April-November in 2005 Bruce went out on the road performing solo with just his guitar, harmonica, and a piano in ridiculously large venues. Over the course of those shows, he played over 142 songs from all phases of his career with many cool stories inbetween. Many selections were songs he had never played live before and many were unrecognizable from their studio versions. Whether it was turning "Johnny-99" into a Leadbelly-style dust bowl blues or singing "Growin' Up" with just a ukelele; it was truly a magical tour for the true-blue Bruce fans. Thanks to the super Jungleland bit-torrent site and the wonderful tapers, we are able to hear what the fuss was all about. The 10 CD set called "Love, Tears, and Mystery" feature superb quality of every song Bruce played during the tour. It is a must for any Bruce fan. Have a taste below.

Born to Run (11-17-2005)

Because the Night (8-13-2005)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Happy Super Tuesday!

Because I am:
1. An unabashed DeadHead
2. A Barak Obama fan

I thought I would post this killer logo that was created for the Obama benefit show that occured last night in San Francisco. The show featured the first time Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, and Mickey Hart have shared a stage since 2004. For those that are interested, the setlist is below and the show is being rebroadcast tonight here:

Show Lineup:
Phil Lesh - bass / vocals
Bob Weir - guitar / vocals
Mickey Hart - percussion / vocals
Mark Karan - guitar
John Molo - drums
Steve Molitz - keyboards
Jackie Green - guitar / vocals
Barry Sless - pedal steel

Set I
Playin' In the Band >
Brown Eyed Women
Mississippi Half Step>
Minglewood Blues>
Come Together

Set 2
Deep Elem >
Friend of the Devil >

Set 3
China Cat Sunflower>
The Wheel >
The Other One
Sugaree (sung by Jackie Green)
Eyes of the World
Throwin' Stones
Iko Iko (sung by Mickey) >
Playin' Reprise
ENCORE - US Blues (sung by Bobby)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Iron and Wine Live

As talented as he is bearded, Sam Beam and Iron and Wine have a gorgeous recent show (1/29/08) streaming over at Bonus for you Wilco fans; Sam's current touring band features none other than former Wilco multi-instrumentalist Leroy Bach. Check it out below:

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Acoustic Pumpkins

I make no bones about the fact that I think Billy Corgan was one of the 5 most important rock music artists of the 1990's. With the Smashing Pumpkins, Corgan seemed able to crank out one epic masterpiece after another. They had a sound like no other band and Corgan wrote some of the best lyrics in rock. They were a weird mix of Boston, Led Zeppelin, and Bauhaus. And for me, it certainly didn't hurt that they're from Chicago. Being a Pumpkins fan during the early 90's in that town was just a magical thing. I remember seeing them at the 1,100 capacity "Cabaret Metro" the week that their second disc "Siamese Dream" was released. By the second song, it was clear to me that this band was far too big for the venue and for Chicago. You just knew they were going to explode.

After a decade of being one of the biggest selling artists in the music industry, drug abuse and personal differences forced Corgan to call the Pumpkins quits in 2000. It all culminated with a epic, 4 hour show at the same "Cabaret Metro" where it all started. Corgan next formed "Zwan" with Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin; which quickly disbanded after one CD release. Next up was a criminally underrated Corgan solo disc called "The Future Embrace", which no one cared about at all. Oddly, on the day of that album's release; Corgan took out a full page add in the Chicago Tribune proclaiming that he was reuniting the Smashing Pumpkins. Original members James Iha (Guitar/Vocals) and D'Arcy(Bass) were either not invited or declined Billy's invitation, but in 2007 Corgan put out an album and toured (with Jimmy on drums) as Smashing Pumpkins without them.

Knowing that Corgan was always the mastermind behind the sound, I eagerly awaited the release of the CD, which is called "Zeitgeist". That CD ranks as not only the biggest disappointment of 2007, but perhaps one of the biggest disappoints in rock next to "Kilroy Was Here". It sounds like a Smashing Pumpkins cover band without any of the irony. It was all bombast and overdubs with none of the subtlety that tended to inhabit the band's best earlier work. I listened to it about 10 times and decided that the Smashing Pumpkins were now going into the memory banks of bands I outgrew, next to REO Speedwagan and Herman's Hermits.

Well hold on one second....Corgan and the current Pumpkins have just released a 4 song EP available only on I-Tunes. It is titled "American Gothic" and after listening to it many times, my faith is reborn. It proves that Corgan can still write amazing melodies and lyrics. The sound is mostly acoustic and has a folky vibe to it that sounds like musicians actually sitting in a room playing together. I post it here because I fear after the disaster that was "Zeitgeist", many of the fans Corgan had left have given up like I did. Please give these 4 tracks a spin and let's hope Billy Corgan uses some of this sound in whatever he chooses to do next.

Smashing Pumpkins-American Gothic
"The Rose March"

"Again, Again, Again (The Crux)"



Friday, February 1, 2008

I'm in Love with Sarah!

Silverman that is. Check out this hilarious clip of her from the Jimmy Kimmel show last night. And if you've never seen it, rent her concert movie "Jesus is Magic".