North Mississippi Allstar February 26, 2010 Highline Ballroom New York, NY Taped and Transferred by T.J. Samulis

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

tDB - 03.15.2010 - Planet Anthem Release Party

It was eight years in the making, but finally completed. The Disco Biscuits released Planet Anthem, their first studio album since Senor Boombox yesterday. Interest surrounding the album was suppressed, probably due in part to the band constantly revising the release date over the past couple years. The presale caused some hype by offering gag bonuses (Barber whispering the lyrics to Korkrete under your bed) for preordering the album, but also included some legit add-ons. One bonus was tickets to either of the album release parties at the Theatre of Living Arts. In my mind, for $30 you're getting a Biscuits' show, and as an added bonus their new studio release. I mean, do people actually listen to Disco Biscuit studio material?

I went into this show not knowing what to expect, but assumed a majority of the night would be allotted to the new material. What we got was the exact opposite. With the exception of the first song of the evening (Step Inside) and the last (a cover of Gary Numan's Cars), every song was debuted live by the Disco Biscuits in 2000 or earlier. To be in a building so integral in the band's history added to the nostalgia of the evening.

If all that wasn't enough, the Biscuits nearly segued the entire show. A short interval after the first song of each set was the only break the band would give themselves. After Step Inside warmed up the evening, the band played for an hour and thirteen minutes straight in what would be an awesome first set. The bluesy segment contained four songs that exemplify the Biscuits. The highlight being the 7-11 and subsequent segue into an inverted Boop. With a close to thirty minute Mr. Don to end the set, how could you complain?

When Down To The Bottom started the second set it almost seemed like this was a fan selected setlist from the Planet Anthem presale. The list of longtime fan-favorite, heavy-hitters didn't stop. The Biscuits would go on to play a segment of music nonstop for eighty minutes. Crickets was played from the beginning instead of the middle section being extracted and placed randomly in a jam. It was so good to hear a funked out crix intro. A Minions tease in a jammy intro to basis was the only hint of the new album we got all night. The jam in Basis got people moving, especially with Magner's "All your bases are belong to us" though the vocoder. The inverted Shimmy is easily the best part of the set and probably the highlight of the evening. Cars for an encore was fun, especially considering it's only the second time they've played it.

This was a more jazzed out bluesy night for the Biscuits and I loved it. It could be one from the annals of Bisco history that would've been considered great in the mid 90's to the present on setlist alone. Ironically enough, the setlist was trimmed significantly from the original (pictured below). The night felt like a intimate celebration of a milestone for the band. Play them all like that and we'll keep coming back.

The Disco Biscuits @ the Theatre of Living Arts 03.15.10 [Download or Listen at the LMA]

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Cactus @ Theatre of Living Arts March 12,2010

Here's Mike Gordon's performance Friday at the Theatre of Living Arts in Philadelphia. Probably the hardest working member of Phish since Coventy, Mike hit the road with his band for an eight show tour. They made stops at some smaller clubs on the east coast. On the heels of Mike's release of The Green Sparrow in August 2008, this group of musicians has been performing together consistently for the last three years.

With any Mike show, it's not uncommon to hear some obscure covers that exemplify his musical tastes. This night was no different with covers of The Mustangs' Time For Lovin' Is Now and Peter Rowan's Walls of Time. Mike's original from Inside In, Soul Food Man, was the highlight of the first set for me. The end of the set included special guests Deanie Richardson on fiddle, Jeff White on guitar, and step dancers Nathan Pilatzke, Jon Pilatzke, and Cara Bultler. It's was a fun way to end the set, but also limited the band slightly from getting into a really tight groove. Regardless, you can tell everyone onstage was having a blast.

The second set started off strong with Sound > Another Door and never really let up. I believe Sugar Shack was the only Phish tune of the night. Niger River and Jones were a pair of tunes that let the band fall into a some smooth jamming, complete with that unmistakable Mike tone. The band finished the set with the Mike original, Suskind Hotel. The twelve minute exploration was a great way to end the set and easily my set two highlight. Overall, solid show that was tons of fun and chock full of some great moments. I'm very happy with the way this recording turned out.

Mike Gordon @ the Theatre of Living Arts [Download Torrent] [Download mp3s]

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Trifecta of Shows to End February

Last week, one of the coldest Februaries in recent years came to a close. Instead of watching the snow fall from home, I decided to hit the road for a trio of shows. The North Mississippi Allstars were headed to the northeast accompanied by the City Champs. Since two of my favorite venues were hosting, I had to hit both regardless of the elements. Umphrey's McGee was also coming to Philadelphia on Saturday. They brought with them Eric Kranso (Soulive) and Chapter 2. Six perfomances in three days sounded like a great way to stay warm to me!

Everything about Thursday night at the World Cafe Live was perfect. The snow was falling, just enough hardcores braved the weather, and I run into Luther Dickinson right before the Allstars' set. The exchange was brief, but definitely a cool part of the night. I'll have to remember to take a picture of their tour bus next time because it's definitely old school.

The City Champs blew me away with a solid seven song, forty-five minute set of Memphis music. The three piece comes at you from all angles with very danceable tunes anchored by Al Gamble on organ. The Leslie sounded amazing Downstairs at the WCL. I'm glad I got a chance to see them since it's undetermined when they'll be back around.

It was warming up by the time the North Mississippi Allstars took the stage. I can say without a doubt that this was the best performance I've ever seen from these guys. The pace started out fierce, peaking with Shake and continuing through Sugartown. Things got really good when Gamble came back out to the keys for Eyes and Storm. The set was sprinkled with some of my favorites and songs I've never heard. Luther tore up the last two songs of the set: Hear My Train A Comin' into Let My Baby Ride.

Good to see everyone from Team Philly who made it out. It's always better to have four different Schoeps rigs in attendance: mk4/8(m/s)>NBox, mk4>NBox, mk4>CMC6>V3>AD2K, and mk41>NBox. No excuses, just Schoeps :)

North Mississippi Allstars @ the WCL [Download or Listen on the LMA]
The City Champs @ the WCL [Download Torrent] [Download mp3s]

Night two was more of the same from these two bands. We just barely made the beginning of the City Champs set after a long day and were rewarded with a Luther sit in. I'm not sure of the title, but it ended the set and was the longest song played. This gave Gamble and George Sluppick time to weave though the guitar work of Luther and Joe Restivo.

North Mississippi's set varied in song selection enough to keep it interesting. Even the songs they did repeat had both a different tone and feel. After all, this was Friday night in the Big Apple. In typical move of NMA hospitality, the City Champs got a little more time onstage than the previous night. Gamble's presence was equally enjoyable. The Allstars with an organ onstage is a beautiful thing. Other highlights include Circle In The Sky, Mark On The Bus, Moonshine, Keep The Devil Down, and a duo with Chris Chew and Luther called Capricorn Brairpatch. Another strong taping turnout including Rory and Dan (check out his blog NYCTaper).

North Mississippi Allstars @ the Highline Ballroom
[Download or Listen on the LMA]
The City Champs @ the Highline [Download Torrent] [Download mp3s]

The final night of the three night run found me back in Philadelphia for Umphrey's McGee. Eric Krasno of Soulive and Chapter 2 got the evening started with some smooth jazz guitar. I never heard of Chapter 2, but have seen Kranso with Soulive and Adam Deitch drumming most recently with Break Science. They were a tremendous opener and set the precedence for a Beatles kind of night with their improv fueled cover of Get Back.

I'll always admit Umphrey's McGee has become very hit or miss for me. I will, however, give credit when it's due. Tonight was one of those nights more than worthy of my praise. With the exception of Cemetery Walk, the entire first set was a nonstop dance party. Wappy Sprayberry is one of my new favorite Umphrey's songs after this night. What a way to start the show, especially with Partyin' Peeps to follow! Snucka with Kranso and Deitch came as an early first set treat. It bookmarked a series of songs that rounded the first out nicely.

I can't imagine how the second set would be anything but a dream set for any umphreak. It was basically four perfectly executed segments, when put together formed an incredibly enjoyable set for anyone:

Divisions > Wanna Be Startin' Something (Michael Jackson tease) > The Floor
Start the set off with a staple of any good set with a little extra improv of MJ. I think The Floor and the segue into it really set the feeling for the entire set.

Ringo > Glory > Ringo
Glory is a piece of perfect music in my book, and wedged between a funky Ringo was well placed

A cover of Abbey Road from Mean Mr. Mustard through Carry That Weight
Um, yeah... are you F'in kidding me?!?! One of the best segments of any album of all time absolutely NAILED! I'm convinced Umphrey's can cover any song to a T.

2x2 > Mantis Ghetts > Divisions
I've been chasing 2x2 for a long time, so this one made me happy. Mantis was phenomenal and the obligatory ending to Divisions sealed it.

Oh yeah they played an intense 15 minute encore too. Top to bottom, this show was pretty incredible. I'm really glad Merin convinced me to run FOB for the first time at the Factory because the tape absolutely smokes! Good to see Tim and Tom making the trip from Baltimore too.

Umphrey's McGee @ the Electric Factory [Download or Listen on the LMA]
Eric Krasno & Chapter 2 @ the Electric Factory [Download Torrent] [Download mp3s]