Wednesday, July 28, 2010

God Street Wine, 7/16 & 7/17/10, Irving Plaza, NYC

God Street Wine, 7/16 & 7/17/10, Irving Plaza, NYC

"Listen to some music, doesn't it sound nice?" - God Street Wine

If you're just joining us, you may need to catch up by reading up on GSW's Gramercy shows the previous weekend. For the rest of you...

Joe Madonna sent me this:

Ahhh, it's funny, cuz it's true. It's funny AND true.

I had some mixed feelings about the Irving shows-- mostly, because it meant there were only 2 left. Then what? What the hell was I supposed to do next weekend? And the weekend after?? There were still songs I needed to hear. I was almost nervous.

Gabe talked me down over some Grey Dog (yaay) explaining what I already knew-- this wasn't the end. This is the new beginning. It's opening doors. A few gigs a year? 1 gig a year? NO LESS THAN 4 GIGS A YEAR???

Revival for a quick pregame where we wandered upstairs to seek A/C (because NYC seems to be stuck in some sort of bubbling prehistoric swamp phase this summer) and ended up wading knee-deep in hipsters until some Winos found us. Geez. Fortunately, it was time to head inside. I went with an oldie but a goody location: on the riser in back of the soundboard. You can see everything, and it sounds freakin' sweet, taboot. Just gotta be careful not to peep the setlist (it's a battle of will-power).

The nearly-sold-out crowd finally filled in and the A/C was flickering on and off. Surely this was a sign from the Universe. Here we go again.

God Street Wine hit the stage and did a sweet little Epilog. I'm glad they opened with this, because if they closed with it, I might have cried. Wendy got the crowd roaring and there was tons of participation again-- loads of love. Big Papa was a total shock and Aaron was laying it on real thick. Lighthouse was a wonderful warm groove, wrapped in a blanket of Lo.

Crazy Head -> Gretchen -> Hammer and A Spike--- FUCK YEAH! Wow, was I relieved to hear this! When Hammer and A Spike started, I looked at Mark and said, "I need to go downstairs now." Which put me in a great spot for another killer Stupid Hat. Then we finally got an uplifting and energetic Bring Back The News! So sweet. We all went into setbreak buzzing.

SET II. Stranger was beautiful as always. Mile x Mile had the room singing along. Epiphany-- twice in 1 week? I'll take it! There was a "BEVO!" chant after Epiphany, cuz he KIIIILLED it.

I'll Still Like You -> Water, got everyone worked into a frenzy, but then -> Pressure -- with the crowd going absolutely WILD. There was that crazy late-night-NYC-energy again! *Best Feel the Pressure EVER* -> Morning Cigarettes!!!!! God Street Wine was ROCKING IRVING PLAZA--- AGAIN!!! -> another wonderful Tide, drenched in good vibes. Then a loud Get On The Train with the crowd still going strong.

Encore #1 was Steely Dan's Any Major Dude Will Tell You-- which was awesome... But then-- the Commodores' Brick House, calling it a "crowd favorite" is putting it lightly. Very cool that they brought it back. Encore # 2 was Thirsty and the crowd was elated.

Hot, sweaty, GSW party # 3 - done. 1 more to go. YIKES!

Diner hotel delivery! Grilled cheddar cheese w/ bacon & tomato and fries at 3am. Ohhh, that's the stuff.

SATURDAY, 7/17/10

Bagels. Coffee. GOD STREET WINE.

Luckily, I was conducting some official business and had to mill around during soundcheck (Stay Tuned for more on that in the future). The A/C was fixed & pumping. Once again, I was conflicted about hearing snippets from the show. It was the last night, time to face the truth: would I hear Funny Kinda Love? Sure, there were other songs I still needed to hear- I'd been mentally crossing off my list with more realistic goals (Miss Leonardo, 6:15, New Eyes, Snake Eyes, A Day In The Life, Whatcha Gonna Do About It?), but they definitely needed to play Funny Kinda Love.

Grey Dog -> Revival -> Irving Plaza: GSW

I'm going to be frank with you. Bevo tore Nightingale a new asshole. I knooow, you're all, "Nightingale has a what?" It does- I didn't know either, until Bevo ripped it a new one! Holychristmonkeyballs, that was spectacular! It left the entire place hyper & buzzing. AND IT WAS ONLY THE FIRST SONG.

Driving West -> Better Than You were both bouncy and fun -> another awesome & loud Hellfire. Ballroom was sweet and I was happy to hear it. There was a chunk of time, waaay back in the day, that Ballroom was my pee-break song, but NO LONGER!

6:15!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I NEEDED TO HEAR 6:15!!!!!!!!!!! YAAAAAY!!!! Man, it felt good.

I had meandered up towards the front for the start of the show. My spot wasn't too bad and I was even able to see between the two really tall dudes in the front row. For a while I was even willing to deal with the dude who was screaming full blast in my left ear, "GOD STREET WINE" and "WOOOO" like 10 times per song (fucking seriously?). However, it happened that there was also a small group of girls in the front/center section who wouldn't stop talking ALL through the first few songs (even during the most intense jams), like it was a fucking hen house. It was starting to get really distracting and the Winos surrounding them (including myself) were getting angry. "Let Rango have at 'em, I'm wandering." I went off to find a spot where I could both see AND hear.

I do like Feather, but I began wondering if it beat out Funny Kinda Love for a spot on the setlist. Hmm... Straight Line is a sentimental classic, it felt good and we got a nice dose of Aaron's pipes. Some dudes I know were having religious experiences (you know who you are). IMOGENE. Another loud and funky Imogene that got the room jumping around wildly to end SET I in a total GSW frenzy. Tomo was a mad man. *Everyone* in the crowd was smiling, many were screaming. Awesome.

SET II. At first, Good Dream got me a little sad, but Lo just went to freakin' town on it and it just tugged & yanked on my heartstrings til it won me over, so... Well played, Faber.

I've always loved Snake Eyes because it's a kickass song. Now that I'm a little older and have been through my own particular dealings with Corporate Hell, I can appreciate a Fuck You Song of this caliber so much more. It sounded like much of the crowd felt the same way, cuz when GSW busted into Snake Eyes the place went almost as wild as when they played Crashing Down the previous week. Snake Eyes: a timeless classic.

Princess Henrietta kept the energy going and the room was In The Zone. Strange As It Seems was a great throwback-- a really nice choice! Then the room lit back up for a loud and abrasive Tina's Town. I was PSYCHED to hear this song, really glad it made the cut. -> a dark Cheap Utah Blues -> DEEP DRAG!!!!!!!! Performed masterfully! It's such a quirky song and each of them nailed every nook and cranny of it! SWEET! Diana and another rabble rousing Borderline to close out SET II. A 4-show-long Borderline sammich.

This is as good a time as any to discuss God Street Wine's version of the Beatles', A Day In The Life. It's quite possibly the most beautiful cover they do. It's also quite possibly the best cover version ever performed of that song. I can't tell you how many times I've seen Phish play A Day In The Life and I stand there wishing I was listening to GSW's instead. Since they had been doing a lot of Beatles covers as encores for this string of shows, I was really hoping they were saving it for last. Alas.

Ticket To Ride was great... sigh.

But then they played B.B. King's Sweet Little Angel (apparently a special request by Lo) and I felt better. MUCH MUCH better. Oh, and by this time I had worked my way back towards the front. Yes, the Coffee Klatch was still there and still talking so I took a slight detour. Wouldn't you know it, as soon as they started Sweet Little Angel, some dude in front of Lo at the railing walked away -> *YOINK!* I was a fucking NINJA right there, lemme tellya. It might have taken all weekend, but I was now riding the rail to soak up every last bit of the Wine from the front row! And Sweet Little Angel was *perfect*.

E2. Lo 'splained that the band would be doing Jam Cruise in January 2011. Then a SUPER FUNKY ROCKING Other Shore w/ Dan laying down the phat groove -> a huge and beautiful Into the Sea. A great way to end the run. And wow, it's over? No Funny Kinda Love? ... sigh.

you can tell Bevo's really feeling it, when he goes slant-ways.

The 4 shows went by really quickly. It was all so good. God Street Wine were so good. I'm still riding my GSW buzz and I want it to linger for as long as possible. Especially because there's not enough Dramamine in the world to get me on that fucking boat, so I have no idea when my next fix will be^.

Thanks to God Street Wine for everything, including but not limited to: being awesome back then & now, rehearsing for these shows, and giving me that patented fresh-from-the-show GSW glow. Thanks to Michael Weiss for making these shows happen (& congrats for raising so much money for the NMSS!). Thanks to Duffy and Jeff for 4 shows worth of sweet sound & lights respectively. Thanks to everyone for everything, except those chatty girls in the front during the entire 4th show. <- TOTES LAME.

I considered deducting HUZZAHS for the songs on my list that weren't played, but that's a bit unfair. So now... A Laundry List of songs that still NEED to be played (TBP), in no particular order for the next round of shows (leave your additions in the comments section below):
Funny Kinda Love
Miss Leonardo
Don't Tell God
A Day In The Life
New Eyes
uhhh, FREIGHT TRAIN-- helllooo???
Revealing Nothing (w/ Bevo on Keytar)
Seein' Yer Meaning
Whatcha Gonna Do About It?
If I Can Dream (which reminds me-- where was Bullethead???)

God Street Wine, 7/16 & 7/17/10, Irving Plaza, NYC, NY: 10 HUZZAHS!!!!!!! Was there ever any doubt?

you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here.


Irving Plaza, NY NY

Big Papa
Crazy Head->
Hammer and Spike->
Stupid Hat
Bring Back the News

Mile By Mile
I'll Still Like You->
Feel The Pressure->
Morning Cigs->
Waiting for the Tide
Get on the Train (with Love Light Tease)

Any Major Dude
Brick House



Budke/Scott Brown Stereo Matrix Mix (thanks, guys & Duffy!)

Mike Salvo AUD (thanks, Salvo!)


Irving Plaza, NY NY

Driving West->
Better Than You->
Straight Line

Good Dream
Snake Eyes
Princess Henrietta
Strange As It Seems
Tina's Town->
Cheap Utah Blues->
Deep Drag

Ticket To Ride
Sweet Little Angel

Other Shore->
Into the Sea


Scott Brown AUD (Thanks, Scott)

Budke/Brown/Faber/Marotta Matrix Mix: (thanks, all!)



^ Here's hoping for some 2011 shows for Land Lubbers!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

god street wine, 7/9 & 7/10/10, the gramercy theater, nyc

god street wine, 7/9 & 7/10/10, gramercy theater, nyc, ny

"The hellfire still burns." - Lo Faber

DISCLAIMER: Total GSW fan-girl right here. At no time during this review (or elsewhere) will I pretend or claim to be otherwise. As a matter of fact, you've stepped in it. Congratulations!

God Street Wine are a rock band that grew out of NYC's late 80's / early 90's Nightingales-Wetlands-HORDE jam-rock scene (alongside groups like Blues Traveler and the Spin Doctors). Ahead of their time, GSW disbanded in 1999 and have only reunited only a handful of times. Last year, they played together for the first time in 8+ years as a memorial to their friend and first taper, Paul Ducharme.

They've since: released all their albums for free on their website (including previously unreleased demos), encouraged their fans to swarm (mostly on a fan-created Facebook group), dangled those carrots, and finally announced that they would be reuniting for 2 special shows at the Gramercy Theater benefitting the National Multiple Sclerosis Society under the watchful eye of former GSW Light Engineer, Poker Buddy, & Road Beast, Mr. Michael "buttons" Weiss. Yeah, I realize that's a run-on sentence, but eat it. Oh, and then the shows sold out in less than 35 minutes, so they were forced to add 2 more at Irving Plaza the following weekend. BOOYA.

After months of practicing on their own (where at least 1 band member neglected his donkeys), 3 weeks ago, God Street Wine started rehearsing together (again). And 2 weeks ago, they filled the Gramercy Theater up for 2 hot sweaty GSW parties and promptly blew the fucking lid off the place. THIS IS THAT REVIEW.

FRIDAY, 7/9/10

A heat-wave descended upon the City and the time was upon us. I was drinking tequila. After a quick pregame, we hauled ass into a packed & hot-as-balls Gramercy Theater. Their A/C was broken. Shit, we might as well get this as close to the Wetlands conditions as possible, right? Gotta make the magic happen. We may have 10 years on us, but we can still rock!

It was not only a reunion show for GSW, but for Winos as well. It was a chance for old friends to reconnect and spend a few classic nights together. Carefully arranged on the stage were memorial portraits of Paul Ducharme and Michelle Rein, two Winos undoubtedly there in spirit.

In a dramatic entrance, God Street Wine took the stage and Winos lucky enough to have scored the Golden Tickets poured on the love. They teased us with their guitars until they finally busted out Borderline, now complemented by a room full of backup singers. It was pretty awesome-- and everyone around me was in-key. Methinks the Winos spent a few months practicing too, yah?

Light My Candles was brilliant and between that and the heat, sWEaTgLANDS energy began pouring out of the crowd. Run To You was beautiful. Perfect. There were songs I wanted to hear, but when it came down to it, I didn't care what the hell they played as long as they played it. Everything was wonderful. Fortress -> April Rain!!! WOW. -> Weird Dream, Thirsty, Mile x Mile. The crowd was on every note and lyric. Then they played a 14+ minute Hellfire and shit got twisted! They went into a dark jam that sounded as if it would -> Seein' Yer Meaning or -> Pussycat. It did neither, it wound back around all crazy-like and became Hellfire again which sent the crowd into a frenzy of chanting at the end. Lots of energy. Lots of heat. Setbreak.

No bathroom line. Actually, the place was full of dudes^ -- to the point of absurdity. It made me wonder if the band were enjoying the 3 front rows full of sweaty, overweight, middle-aged dudes shouting song titles at them. Don't these dudes know that bands play better when there are girls in front? Just sayin'...

SET II. Not sure if I like the slow Electrocute as much as the fast one, but it's still got some spooky power that makes my insides feel like goo and that makes every second of it totally satisfying. Aaron did it up for Imogene. Hearing him do the last "YEAH!" at the end was like a pinch that this was really really happening! Smiling now just thinking about it. Stupid Hat was huge. They nailed it. It's such a beautiful piece and it sounded so so so so good.

Silver -> a gritty and dirty Cheap Utah Blues -> a Waiting For The Tide like no one has ever experienced before. Lo was starting his solo when the crowd just started singing the end refrain of the song. He look confused for a second, like maybe he lost his place in the song- but he hadn't-- the audience had just started to sing on their own. GSW exchanged glances, smiles, and kept playing until they eventually caught up with the Winos. Can you feel the love?

-> raging Other Shore (typo just there, "Other Whore" HAHAHA awesome) -> a Princess Henrietta time machine that made us all 15 years younger and quite possibly conjured up the energy it would take to get us all through the rest of the weekend.

1st encore was the sentimental classic Home Again, absolutely belted out by Aaron. I miss that. They made us clap again before they came out for the 2nd encore- Come Together -> a low down dirty Who Do You Love? Classic GSW swagger. They haven't lost their sense of humor.

It was at least 105 degrees in there by the end of the night. 1 show down, 3 to go. It went by too quickly, but that may have been the tequila. By then, it was already the 10th, so we'd be doing it all over again later that day. Perfect.

SATURDAY, 7/10/10

Saturday morning began in the afternoon. Bach took off for a Mets game, while Wren and I found some coffee and bacon. In that order. Then I layered some Jamba Juice on top. By then it was time to head down to the Gramercy for soundcheck where we were delighted to find the theater had their A/C fixed in the AM. PRAISE WINO CHEESUS!

Soundcheck was strictly business and I tried not to enjoy myself, which was impossible-- because it was awwwwwesome. I was, however, conflicted about hearing some of the songs they'd be playing as it might take some of the surprise out of it. -ps- It didn't.

details, details...

Officially sanctioned Wino pregame once again took place at the Globe, where I actually ran into some of the old Livingston, NJ crew! NICE. Although the Mets lost, Bach took solace in the fact that he would soon be enjoying another GSW show. That's the spirit! And Gabe, once again taking no chances, headed into the venue when the doors opened to secure his spot up front.

My hope was that they'd harness the momentum from the night before and just take off with it. They did. Not only that, but they layed out a sick setlist and fucking delivered! Right off the bat with When She Go to get the crowd back in focus -> Molly to wrangle the rest of them -> Gretchen to secure the fort. Things slowed down a bit with She Comes Up Softly, but Driving West brought everyone back to speed. Who's Driving (WOOOOT) -> (what sounded like a Chop! tease but was actually) Dirty Little Secret (YES YES YES!!!), Ladyfingers (classy!), and finally Epiphany! Epiphany of course being one of the songs that I "needed" to hear, not just "really wanted" to hear. There's a difference.

To end SET I, Lo thanked the crowd, and Michael Weiss, the Man of the Hour(s) for all his hard work, and reminded everyone that the merch table was downstairs, and that all proceeds were being donated to the NMSS. And you can still buy the merch **HERE** (the poster is BEAUTIFUL and the hoodie is PHATTY DANK like a veggie burrito.)!

Michael Weiss, on the job.

SET II. Change Your Mind- AWESOME-- never expected that! Call It Love- this was a total THROWBACK featuring Aaron in top-form. -> She Said Dark, which they dominated. Really, they made She Said Dark their bitch. One of the best songs out of the 4 reunion shows made even sicker by -> a loud, shredding, killer 4th of July.

At this point in the show, GSW was unstoppable and the crowd was losing their minds. The room was exciting. The band jammed out a grand and nearly 10 minute R U 4 Real -> freakin' MANTALOKING TOWN. Scorching dueling guitars and Tomo wailing away like Animal. They've definitely been rehearsing. Shit just got crazier. Dan absolutely rocked Brand New Pussycat -> Crashing Down, where people started going beserk. There were a lot of grown men jumping up and down in the crowd and I even saw one dude sprint through the packed room "wooooing" the entire way. Thankfully, people seemed to give him space. It was madness. -> the dramatic and beautiful Into the Sea.

The encore was Dear Prudence (a Beatles encore theme?) and a refreshing Nightingale sorbet, starring Bevo.

GSW were masterful. The sound was great, the lights were perfect--- it all felt right. Like it had never stopped. There were a few times Aaron went over to interact with Lo, but couldn't even get his attention. Lo was off in his own little world, just smiling and shredding away, which left Aaron all smiles. Amazing. How it should be. The crowd was all smiles too. My face kinda hurt. And I would get to do it all over again the following weekend. *smiles*

Both nights were amazing, but I think Saturday was when their Super Powers took hold of us mere mortals and pummeled our senses with rock goodness until we were puddles of ooze. It couldn't have gotten much better than that. God Street Wine, 7/9 & 7/10/10, The Gramercy Theater, NYC: 10 HUZZAHS!!!!!!!

Gramercy Theater, NY NY
23rd Street

Light My Candles
Run To You
Fortress of Solitude->
April Rain->
Weird Dream
Mile By Mile->

Stupid Hat
Utah Blues->
Waiting for the Tide->
Other Shore->
Princess Henrietta

Home Again

Come Together->
Who Do You Love


Budke SBD (Thanks, Budke!)

Scott Berstein AUD (Thanks, Scott!)

Gramercy Theater
23rd Street, NY, NY

When She Go->
Goodnight Gretchen->
She Comes Up Softly
Driving West
Who's Driving->
Dirty Little Secret

Change Your Mind
Call It Love
She Said Dark->
Fourth of July
Are You For Real->
Mantoloking Town
Brand New Pussycat->
Crashing Down->
Into the Sea

Dear Prudence


Budke SBD (Thanks, Budke!)

Scott Berstein AUD (Thanks, Scott!)



^ The 1st of the 4 nights was the most exaggerated ratio. Are more babysitters available on Saturdays?