Category Archives: Music

2010: A Year of Music

I saw some great shows this past year. Here’s a list, as accurate as I could get it, of my concerts from 2010. I’ve highlighted my favorites.

1/3 – 1/8: Jam Cruise 8 (The High Seas)
1/16: Umphrey’s McGee (Regency Ballroom, SF)
1/17: Rebirth Brass Band & Ivan Neville’s Dumstaphunk (Independent, SF)
1/18: Rebirth Brass Band (Mojito, SF)
1/22: The Sweatband (Blue Macaw, SF)
1/29: North Mississippi Allstars (Independent, SF)
1/30: Greyboy Allstars (Fillmore, SF)
2/16: The Dirty Dozen Brass Band (Independent, SF)
2/21: Medeski, Martin & Wood (Fillmore, SF)
2/25: moe. (Fillmore, SF)
2/26: Juno What & Orgone (Boom Boom Room, SF)
2/27: Juno What & Orgone (Boom Boom Room, SF)
3/5: Galactic feat. Cyrill Neville & Chali 2Na (Fillmore, SF)
3/5: Galactic & Greyhounds Afterhours (Boom Boom Room, SF)
3/6: Galactic feat. Cyrill Neville & Chali 2NA (Fillmore, SF)
3/6: Galactic & Greyhounds Afterhours feat. George Clinton (Boom Boom Room, SF)
3/13: Salvador Santana, Trombone Shorty Orleans Ave & The New Mastersounds (Fillmore, SF)
3/15: Balkan Beat Box (Fillmore, SF)
3/26: Ronkat’s Katadelic (Boom Boom Room, SF)
4/9: Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe (Independent, SF)
4/10: Les Claypool, Common, Beats Antique, Black Keys (Bay Area Yuri’s Night)
4/15: Pretty Lights (Mezzanine, SF)
4/16: Miike Snow (Independent, SF)
4/23: Bonobo (Mezzanine, SF)
4/29: Garage A Trois w/ Midnight Disturbers, Dead Kenny Gs, Stanton Moore Trio and Marco Benevento Solo (Howlin’ Wolf, New Orleans)
4/30: Ivan Neville & Dumpstapunk (Jazzfest, New Orleans)
4/30: Dr. Klaw (Jazzfest, New Orleans)
4/30: Widespread Panic (Jazzfest, New Orleans)
4/30: Galactic (One Eyed Jacks, New Orleans)
4/30: Big Gigantic (Republic, New Orleans)
4/31: Bruce Hampton & Rebirth Brass Band (Howlin’ Wolf, New Orleans)
4/31: Gravity A (Dragon’s Den, New Orleans)
4/31: Some Cat From Japan (Tipitina’s FQ, New Orleans)
5/1: Greboy Allstars (Riverboat, New Orleans)
5/1: Dr. Klaw & Break Science (One Eyed Jack’s, New Orleans)
5/2: Royal Family Ball featuring Soulive, Lettuce, Zigaboo’s Funk Revue George Porter and His Runnin’ Pardners (Howlin’ Wolf, New Orleans)
5/7: Juno What? (Boom Boom Room, SF)
5/8: Stanton Moore Trio (Independent, SF)
5/8: Juno What? (Boom Boom Room, 5SF)
5/14: Breakestra & Fort Knox Five (Mezzanine, SF)
6/4: Monophonics (Boom Boom Room, SF)
6/11: Robert Randolph & The Family Band (Fillmore, SF)
6/11: Tracorum (Boom Boom Room, SF)
7/10 – 7/12: High Sierra Music Festival
7/18: Primus (Great American Music Hall, SF)
7/23: Ivan Neville & Dumpstaphunk (Great American Music Hall, SF)
7/29 – 8/1: String Cheese Incident Festival at Hornings Hideout
8/25: Dave Matthews Band (Sleep Train Pavillion, Concord CA)
8/30-9/5: Burningman (Black Rock City, NV)
9/23: Health, The XX (Fox Theater, Oakland)
9/24: Pimps of Joytime, JJ Grey & MoFro (Fillmore, SF)
10/1: Juno What?! (Boom Boom Room, SF)
10/29: Lotus (Independent, SF)
11/24: Zach Deputy (Boom Boom Room, SF)
12/11: Soulive with Karl Denson & Nigel Hall (Independent, SF)
12/18: Greyboy Allstars (Boom Boom Room, SF)
12/23: Some Cat from Japan (Boom Boom Room, SF)
12/31: Thievery Corp, Balkan Beat Box, Beats Antique (Sea of Dreams, SF)

Two Thousand Zen

I can clearly remember when the clock struck midnight on January 1, 2010 — as I was very glad to see that 2009 had finally come to a screeching halt. Coming off one of the worst years that I can remember, I had high hopes and aspirations for 2010.

I soon learned that many other people felt the same way about 2009 and were very glad to see it go as well. When talking to my friend Pondi, she was telling me about her dreadful 2009 and was very excited for what her friend had dubbed “Two Thousand Zen.” From that moment on, I decided to make “Two Thousand Zen” my mantra for 2010 as well… and I feel as though it was a success.

Continue reading Two Thousand Zen

A festival of the Jazz Variety

I’ve recently returned from the soulful city of New Orleans, where Jazzfest was in full swing. From the moment I left the house in San Francisco,I knew it’d be an adventure — flying to Baton Rouge by way of Houston and then taking a bus ride to New Orleans. Upon arrival, I had plans to stay with some friends from Jam Cruise, known as A Touch of Class in town about 15 minutes from downton New Orleans known as Metarie, LA.

The moment I arrived, I felt at home with my classy friends. Blake, the owner of the house, was the most gracious host I’ve ever had the pleasure to stay with  and everyone else was so welcoming into their group of friends. Early in the night we headed over to the Howlin’ Wolf for the megalomaniac’s ball featuring a 2AM set by Garage a Trois.

Thursday night, we had a minor detour known as “Project OPP’ — but ended up seeing about half of the Galactic Show, snuck in the back door of an art gallery to meet up with my friends The Joker, Rhonda & Leslie and saw a bit of the Dirty Dozen. Late night, featured Big Galactic and DJ Ruscoe at Republic. Dub isn’t exactly my thing, but somehow I ended up having an absolute blast! The crowd (and venue) was a lot of fun. Plus — this was my first opportunity to party TOC’er Lauren from Philly, a Professional Party Princess! Would’ve been nice to see Marc, too, but that’ll have to wait for the boat!

We managed to scrape together a badass crawfish boil on Friday — but soon learned that not nearly enough people came over to pre-party which left many many pounds of boiled crawfish to be savored at a later date. Friday night, I went back to the Howlin’ Wolf the Bayou Rendezvous. I managed to check out George Porter’s Runnin’ Pardners and Col. Bruce’s band before the craziness began. And by craziness, I mean running to the Dragon’s Den to see Gravity-A from 12-2 followed by a trip to Tipitina’s in the Quarter to check out Some Cat from Japan and get a shout-out by Nigel Hall!) then to head back at 4am to see the second Gravity-A Set.

Saturday evening was the only night that was a little questionable. We were disappointed by the Greyboy set on the riverboat — they just couldn’t keep up the energy of the show, I felt. I later headed over to One Eye’d Jack’s to see BreakScience considering how much I enjoyed the dubstep from earlier in the week. I was sadly disappointed to learn that I really dislike BreakScience. Oh well, so it goes. I partied late night with the crew at Snake & Jake’s and all was right with the world again… or was it?

Sunday night was the night I had been most looking forward to of the trip. An evening at the Howlin’ Wolf  for the Royal Family Ball and JamCruise reunion. Soulive was awesome — I don’t think I’ve seen them since Bonnaroo 2004 and Lettuce simply blew my mind. I am pretty sure that they tried to kill me with the Funk.

The trip home was relatively uneventful, except for the police action that took place on my bus at the station in New Orleans that involved one drunk homeless guy claiming to another drunk homeless guy stole his cell phone. The end of the trip was fairly entertaining as well, when I realized that my car keys were in my checked luggage — which arrived 4 hours later than I did because I finagled myself an earlier flight. Nice.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering.. yes, I did make it to the actual festival, too. The food and music were amazing, but the late night club sets were so much more impressive!

The Return to Normalcy

As many of you probably know, I spent all of last week on vacation on The Jam Cruise. For those not familiar with the cruise, it’s basically a music festival or Jazz Fest on a cruise ship. This particular year, most of the artists are of the Jazz, Blue Grass, or Jam variety but there were a few electronic-style musicians as well such as Pretty Lights, Sound Tribe Sector Nine and Lotus.

FFrom the moment that I got to the airport, I started meeting fellow Cruisers. Pete and I managed to meet at least a dozen people before even setting foot on board the MSC Poesia, as everyone was super-excited. As soon as we got onboard the ship, we had a blast. We quickly set up our door decorations and were off to explore the ship. Much like last year, the main venues were the Pool Deck, the Theater located in the bow of the ship, the Zebra Lounge (similar to the Leopard Lounge from last year), the Jam Room and the Disco (both of which were located in the very rear of the boat).

Continue reading The Return to Normalcy

Outside Lands

We bit the bullet. This morning at 10:00 AM PST, we bought tickets to the upcoming Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco in August. The lineup is truly amazing, from our perspective, but they get you with $25+ in service fees per ticket. Absolutely ridiculous.

The headliners include Radiohead, Jack Johnson and Tom Petty.. but the list just goes on from there. There’s no camping (and no food) but we’ll deal with that.. It’s just about as good as any bonnaroo lineup.. and besides, the chance to see Radiohead live again.. holy moly!

* Radiohead
* Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
* Jack Johnson
* Beck
* Wilco
* Manu Chao
* Ben Harper
* Widespread Panic
* Primus
* Rodrigo y Gabriela
* Steve Winwood
* Cafe Tacvba
* Broken Social Scene
* Regina Spektor
* Devendra Banhart
* Cold War Kids
* Galactic’s Crescent City Soul Krewe
* Lyrics Born
* Andrew Bird
* Steel Pulse
* Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
* M. Ward
* Drive-By Truckers
* ALO
* Matt Nathanson
* The Cool Kids
* Two Gallants
* Dredg Little Brother
* Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
* Donavon Frankenreiter
* The Mother Hips
* Black Mountain
* Sidestepper
* Nellie McKay
* The Coup
* Goapele
* Bon Iver
* Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk
* Sean Hayes
* The Felice Brothers
* Rupa & the April Fishes
* Back Door Slam
* K’NAAN

In the Belly of a Spin Doctor

It’s funny, every time I hear the song “Two Princes” by the Spin Doctors on the radio I recall this one memory from my childhood. The song was released in 1992, at which point I was about 14 years old. The memory is of my mom, my sister, my grandfather and I driving home from the mall in Buffalo where I purchased two cassettes tapes: “Pocket Full of Kryptonite” by The Spin Doctors and “Star” by Belly.

I remember that it was Buffalo, because prior to going to the mall we had stopped somewhere in Batavia to visit a friend of my grandfather’s. I also remember my grandfather pointing out Attica Prison which is located just south of Batavia a town of the same name.

While the memory is only really the tip of the iceberg, what I really begin to think about is the two specific albums that I had bought that day. Back then, the Spin Doctors were incredibly popular with their hits ‘Little Miss Can’t be Wrong,’ ‘Two Princes,’ and ‘Jimmy Olsen’s Blues.’ They were basically a requirement for any 9th grader at the time. Belly, on the other hand, was an “alternative’ rock band that had really only one popular song ‘Feed the Tree’ — if you even want to call it “popular.” Even today, if you review the Wikipedia Entries on the Two Bands, The Spin Doctors have a much longer and complete entry than Belly.

The ironic thing about this, though, is the I still own (and listen to) Belly’s “Star.” I put it on just the other day, actually, and probably listen to it at least a few times a year. Even if I still owned “Pocket Full of Kryptonite,” listening to it would be more of a novelty than anything else…

So, I ask you this.. which band is better? The band that achieves fame, rock star status, and has a song that could probably be identified by most common Americans my age in less than 10 notes? Or, the band whose album still makes it through my rotation even though they never achieved great recognition or achievement?

Your Best Music Video

Everyone that has grown to appreciate MTV has a favorite music video. For some it may be and for other’s it’s . For me, it’s gotta be “Just” by Radiohead.

I remember watching it on 120 Minutes on MTV late one night.. or maybe it was that very strange WBER TV Show on Public Access. I can’t remember. Either way.. here’s the video.. What’s your favorite music video of all time? Please share in the comments..

De Do Do Do De Da Da Da

While sitting at Fenway Park last night, I had a grand vision that I’d log on once I got home and pound out a post-midnight blog about my night at the Police concert.  I was dreaming of bringing that “hot off the press” auro to The Diatribe.  Sadly, that didn’t happen.  Oh well, what’s a 12-hour difference, right?  Say what you will about aging rock stars reuniting strictly for money.  Say what you will about how said rock stars are just going through the motions.  Say what you will about seeing rock stars in concert “when it matters” and not some decades later.  I can hear those arguments ad nauseum.  I will listen patiently and then when you’re done, I’ll give you a giant raspberry.  The Police were phenomenal.  I waited over 20 years for this tour and these three guys delivered.  And then some.

Stewart, Andy, and Sting played for well over 2 hours and had the crowd of 35,000 whipped into a frenzy.  Several times during the show, I looked around in awe at the crowd.  It was a level of excitement so different from that of a Red Sox game at Fenway.  The lights were turned off, which was a huge asset to setting the right ambiance.  The only lights came from the stage in center field, and a few hundred arm-high cigarette lighters. 

Nothing could get me down last night.  Not the pre-show downpours, which luckily subsided before the concert.  Not the dew point of 70 and the air so thick with humidity that you couldn’t cut it with a chainsaw.  Although, one thing that did come close to driving me to distraction was the constantly dripping pipe directly over my head.  Condensation from this pipe, some 25 feet above me, kept me moist and and annoyed all night.  You just gotta love a 95-year-old ball park.  However, this was offset by the presence of a “celebrity” two rows ahead of me. 

Early in the show, the sweet smell of weed wafted through the air.  I was just waiting for a major bust, since there were seemingly hundreds of Boston cops at the park.  But the smell subsided and any arrests were put on hold.  But later on, I discovered the smoker.  It was a man two rows in front of me who was the spitting image of Comic Book Guy from ‘The Simpsons.’  Tipping the scale at 300 pounds – check.  Tent-sized t-shirt – check.  Dark shorts – check.  Scraggly goatee – check.  Graying ponytail – check.  Glasses – check.  If only I could have heard his voice, like if he had declared, “Worst Police concert ever.”  To sum up, the guy smoked up a few times, got away with it, and his wife didn’t seem too pleased about his antics.

Anyway, I’m still jazzed about the show.  Looking forward to being back there tonight.  It may be corny, but a thought that ran through my head last night was that now I can die happy. 

Arrested by The Police

I feel like a kid again.  I cannot tell you all how excited I am that The Police are back together.  However, this is The Police we’re talking about and I am petrified that Stewart and Sting will get in a fistfight at tonight’s Grammy Awards, which will lead to yet another broken arm/wrist/hand for Stewart, yet another black eye for Sting, and yet another break-up by The Police.  Ahhh, but that’s the intriguing thing about this group – they never actually broke up.  They became international super-duperstars on the heels of Synchronicity, toured the world for a year or more, passed the torch to U2 at the Amnesty International show, and took a much needed break from each other after six straight years of touring and recording. 

I’ve mentioned to many friends of mine how I came to be a fan of The Police.  My childhood best friend, Greg, was blessed with a young, hip mom.  She had him when she was 20, so she was a cool MTV mom and very much into The Police.  I thought she was the coolest because she had a giant Police poster in the living room and played their records (oh yes, back in the good old vinyl days) all the time.  I was sleeping over in 1984 at the tender age of 7 when they announced their hiatus and she was bummed out, but upbeat about a reunion soon enough.  Then, two years later, our wish came true and they regrouped to record a new album.  But Stewart broke his arm falling off a horse, objected to using a drum machine on the album, and only an updated “Don’t Stand So Close To Me ’86” resulted before the fighting began anew and the boys parted company once more. 

Still, Greg’s mom was hopeful they would get together again.  That was nearly 21 years ago and only the lucky guests at Sting’s wedding in the early 1990s saw a Police reunion.  I’ve read enough magazine articles and seen enough interviews with Stewart and Sting to come to the conclusion that they didn’t need the headaches and hassles that came with The Police.  I thought perhaps their one-off Hall of Fame induction ceremony performance 4 years ago would have to satisfy diehards such as myself. 

Well, here they are.  Together on stage in public with promises of a summer tour and I didn’t have to give up one of my kidneys or testicles (a common refrain of mine over the last decade has been “I would gladly give up a testicle to see a Police reunion.”).  I am giddy at the thought that they are a mere 4 hours away from making one of my childhood dreams come true.  And when they roll into Fenway Park this summer, I’m sure Greg’s mom will be there, too.

Dear Mr. Fantasy

Okay, I need vast amounts of audience interaction on this one.  Let’s make this the most trafficked, most commented post in Diatribe history.  This started out as an innocent, yet intriguing question to my man Petro this morning, then I asked my man Bubba, and now I bring the question to your table…

You have 3 fantasy tickets to see any 3 musical acts ever.  Who will they be?

My choices were easy to come up with, using my gut instincts.  But if I had given it some thought, my list would be in the hundreds by now.  Here’s my top 3 at the moment…

* The Doors – 1966, when they were playing their very early gigs at LA’s Whiskey A-Go-Go.

* The Beach Boys – any 1966-1972 gigs that Brian Wilson joined the band (rare occurrences).

* Ludwig van Beethoven – anytime, because that must have been freaking awesome even though I don’t even really like classical music much.