If someone had told me last summer when I was chasing Phish around the country that in six months I’d be interviewing Mike Gordon himself, I never would have believed them. Yet, there I was this past Monday morning singing a guitar part of “Yarmouth Road” to Cactus himself, and in return he sang me some Los Lonely Boys “Heaven”. Read my interview here, it was the fastest twenty minutes of my life:
Last Friday at the Fillmore Denver, JJ Grey and Mofro headlined a big lineup that included Keller Williams and Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers. With his white pants and light blonde hair, I really had to take the white down, he looked like an angel in some pics. I’d never seen someone working the spotlight there before, so I got a shot of him, as well as those majestic chandeliers. Read my Westword review of the show here:
When seminal 60’s psych band The Zombies personally wants you to open for their Los Angeles show, you are definitely doing something right. This L.A. five piece are in the more positive and bubbly bright psych vein, and formerly went under the name Blackfeet Braves. They sound like the turbulent excitement of a work free hot summer, with blasts of organ and killer cymbal taps keeping the energy going with bumps and turns like you are crashing in the waves. Frontman Julian Ducatenzeiler has a nasally rock and roll voice that sounds great in echoey lo-fi, sounding like what would happen if Bob Dylan got on the bus with the Merry Pranksters. Listen to their new single over at Filter, the album Desert Island comes out April 29th, and check them out at SXSW this year:
Listen to Dances new single “Rat” today off their debut EP coming out this spring on Black Bell Records. One minute and 41 seconds of reckless, jangly, melodic fury. In their press release it says they are influenced by 60’s psych and 90’s alternative, I didn’t have to read further. Sold. The NY trio will be playing the Sailor Jerry party at SXSW on 3.13, won’t be missing that one.
In 1999 at Liberty Lunch in Austin, I saw Keller Williams open for String Cheese Incident, and he totally stole the show for me. I had never seen someone looping live, and stood right in front of him mesmerized, watching his every move. Somehow, I never caught another show of his, and had heard through the years that he was of the dirty hippie variety. I have no problems with dirty hippies, and was excited to see him again opening for JJ Grey and Mofro. When he came out in a slick grey suit with two gorgeous back up singers, my jaw dropped in complete surprise. Elegant, poetic, and extremely expressive, Keller was the highlight of my night, and I’ll definitely see him any time he comes around. More in depth review being published tomorrow at Westword.
Last night at the Fillmore I got a chance to shoot a big show with lots of lights; such a treat when you aren’t fighting for every little bit of light in the hopes of one clear shot. Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers opened, bringing that Grateful Dead country funk sound together with her clear as a bell powerhouse vocals; it was my first time seeing them and I thought they were incredible, authentic and fun. More in-depth review Monday at Westword.
Usually at shows I get to be in the photo pit for the first three songs, then have to move back and shoot elsewhere. However, when shooting small shows with lax rules, I’ve learned a trick. About five songs in, when I guess the guitar solo is coming, I’ll quickly go to the front, and without fail the musicians suddenly amp it up, going from the photo above, to this:
I love it.
Ft. Collin’s Aspen Hourglass played The 1Up Colfax last night, and I loved that the drums were not only on the side, but they had a spotlight on him! I always try to get great shots of everyone, and usually the drummer gets the dark, fuzzy end of the stick. Not last night, you can even see him smile.
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania has always been on my list of places to visit, and when Phish played there last year I got to see some Mennonites at the show, but never got to explore the area. In my head it’s this magical place where carts and buggies live in harmony with automobiles, cats and dogs walking side by side, and rising young band The Districts from the area sound exactly like what I imagine is played in little fictional town squares there. They’ve got an Americana sound that has more oomph to it than past popular rootsy bands like Mumford & Sons, the blues and indie rock slants sound fresh and unique in comparison, and it’s pretty hard to believe they are teenagers; Rob Grote’s vocals drip with wisdom and thoughtfulness and crackle with emotion. Harmonica and slide guitar smooth things out while bright full percussion bring a steady beat to their music that should have festival crowds going nuts in the future. They are playing here in Denver at Lost Lake on Mar. 16th, I imagine they will never play a show here that small again. I could easily see them getting scooped as an opener on some Red Rocks summer night if their trajectory stays on course. Listen to their single “Funeral Beds” here and stream the whole album at their Bandcamp linked below.
Woods continues to put out perfect songs, this time letting the musical saw and almost theatrical enunciation take the lead. Just a whole bunch of prettiness down to the “ooh ooh ooh’s”. The song has a swagger befitting a walk down a coastal boardwalk wearing nothing but a bathing suit, confidence and a smile. The musical saw wavers in and out like a polite alien abduction of a falsetto hero:
With influences like J.J. Cale, Canned Heat and Waylon Jennings, Nashville’s Natural Child create a sound that is a cross of classic country, southern soul R&B and psych rock. Today they released my favorite track off their new album, “Out in the Country”, a smooth as silk song layered with gorgeous swirling guitar lines and delicately funky keys. They just announced a tour with the Black Lips after their SXSW performances, listen to the new song below and check out their tour dates for a show near you. Their new album Dancin’ With Wolves comes out Feb. 25th on Burger Records:
Mon. April 14 – Richmond, VA @ The National *
Tue. April 15 – Washington, DC @ Black Cat *
Thu. April 17 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall *
Fri. April 18 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer *
Sat. April 19 – Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club *
Mon. April 21 – Montreal, QC @ Corona Theatre *
Tue. April 22 – Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Concert Theatre *
Thu. April 24 – Detroit, MI @ Magic Stick *
Fri. April 25 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom *
Sat. April 26 – Chicago, IL @ Logan Square Auditorium *
Sun. April 27 – St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club *
Mon. April 28 – Omaha, NE @ The Waiting Room *
Tue. April 29 – St. Louis, MO @ The Firebird *
Wed. April 30 – Kansas City, MO @ The Riot Room *
Sat. May 3 – New Orleans, LA @ Siberia *