Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ominous Seapods, 12/17/11, Valentine's Albany, NY

Ominous Seapods, 12/17/11, Valentine's, Albany, NY

Here's the thing about bands doing "farewell" shows-- I don't buy it anymore. They always come back. Reunions are the new black. And it's not a bad thing, I'm just saying that when a band calls it quits, it may take 2 years (God Street Wine), it may take 10 (Pavement), but they typically return in some form, eventually. Shit, even Led Zeppelin did it (with Little Bonham) in 2007^. Not that you could get a ticket for it, but you did at least try.

Anyways, when Ominous Seapods announced that guitarist/vocalist Dana "Monty Roberts" Monteith would be moving to Australia, the band set up a "Farewell" show, so we could get our last kicks in for at least the foreseeable future. It was hard to get too sad, because as Ominous Seapods fans, if there's one thing we can all acknowledge, it's that the Ominous Seapods love money. And as long as money exists, so will the probability that Dana will do a Stateside visit at some point, and seize the opportunity to play with the Seapods once again. Especially after he becomes a huge Australian Country Music Star, gets his own Private Jet, and starts gallivanting around the globe with his trendy Australian-American family and attend luncheons in Dubai with the Beckhams, who will secretly try and convert him to Scientology, until Dana offends The Powerful Lord Xenu with a tender love ballad about Wombat Jerky that hits a little too close to home, which will all happen-- MARK MY WORDS.

With their Winter Carnival 2011 performances still fresh in my mind, and the various reunion shows we've seen them play over the past 10 years, this show almost seemed par for the course. Another family reunion to check off the list. In fact, it didn't seem like it was actually happening. Not the entire time I drove way too fast up the NYS Thruway and somehow didn't get pulled over. Not during the entire lovely dinner with Rich, Liz, & a carafe of salsa. And not for at least the first 25-30 minutes of the show, when it felt like all I was doing was hanging out with friends while music was happening in the background. Valentine's was packed and we were kind of stuck behind the first stack by the stairs where there is not much of a view or vibe and a chilly wind blows up from the street to nip you in the ankles, but we had each other, and that was all that mattered.

Oh yah, there's a show? In the meantime, Jet Smooth, Blackberry -> As I Stand Here Now, during which, I found a crisp $20 note (it was totally clean) in the women's bathroom, which is by far the best thing I've ever found in the bathroom at Valentine's. A pretty Matchmaker. Groovy Rocking Taste Sensation Overload, a song Dana wrote with his brother-in-law about a particular experience in Australia, which resulted in his (Dana's) passing out. Ahh, Dana, The Diplomat! Out of Myself featured Todd "the New TP" Pasternack on lead vocals, and it is lovely to hear him sing again. And speaking of lovely to hear sing again, the Dark Horse lurked out from behind the keys to serenade us on AC/DC's smash hit It's A Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock and Roll). THE DARK HORSE SINGS AGAIN. He also pulled out--- a totally fucking sweet Melodica solo. All Glory to the Dark Horse!

They went super old skool with If I Had a Smile, but the show really kicked into full gear and/or the band finally got warmed up, when they busted into Guide to Roadside Ecology. The room was moving, the energy was flowing, the boys hit their fucking groove. The Albany Magic appeared. It finally felt like an Ominous Seapods show. Guide -> Michael Murphy III, including chant-a-long at the end, fucking fantastic. Then a beautiful (it's always beautiful) Cary Suite to close out the set. Awesome.

Setbreak featured Nanaimo Bars and me planting down in front of Tom Pirozzi's (aka The Old TP, Teep, Whiskey Tom) spot. At least that's all I actually recall. Shameless cross-promotional side note: TP will be performing with Jon Bevo's Love Orchestra (God Street Wine in rubber pants) on 1/28 in Jersey.

Set II kicked off with Bong Hits & Porn to set the mood and so we could watch Dana go "wah wah wah" with his mouth at least one more time before he takes off. Da Bomb. And a most specialtastic Pull From Adirondack Blue, wherein taking the sticks from our darling wonderful Ted "Tigerbeat" Marotta, was none other than Vinnie Amico from moe., and popping onstage to the left of TP, was North Country Freak, Josh Himmelsbach (Justin Trawick Group, Ten Feet Tall), on Mandolin. Bach totally fucking smoked his Mandolin with a fantastic smile on his face the whole time. While Vinnie, cool as a cucumber, played the song OLDSKOOLFASTTEMPO and the Seapods had no choice but to act natural and keep the fuck up. Vinnie and Bach kept them young! FUCKING AWESOME.

Soon thereafter, Dana started a "Drew Price" chant -> Original Plattsburgh Mutant Drew Price got onstage -> Max licked Drew's Ominous Seapods tattoo (yes), for at least the 2nd time in history. Max is a gamblin' man.

Next was another wonderful treat, as Teep filled the room with patented Teep Love, in the form of Anything is Possible. Awww, Teep. A few of us toasted to our pal Johnny Fishwick, who was definitely there in spirit. The hypnotizing Buddahful Belly appeared and all at once, the room became enveloped in a familiar haze (this may have been Johnny Fishwick's doing from beeeeyonnnnnd!!). The Mutation continued when Dana's life got Cancelled. The boys played him off with Men at Work's Land Down Under. Here's some video-- audio courtesy of Undertaper Productions. The end is a bit messy, coincidentally, because I was attacked by an Australian, who bore the strength of a thousand Tasmanian Devils.

Good to be Alive, Josephine's Grand Motion -> a romptastic Room of Ruins, and a bittersweet but triumphant Leaving the Monopole to end Set II. For an Encore they covered the Angels' Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again, leading the audience to chant back the answer: No way!! Get Fucked!! Fuck Off!!!

They attempted to end it all there, but Promoter Greg Bell, offered to pay the band another $100 to play another song (Greg wanted to hear the Old TP classic, SHIP). All of a sudden, in a totally unprecedented turn of events, the audience started passing money up to Dana to keep playing. Usually it's to get him to show his ass (or not) or dip his balls in hot sauce (or not). The boys collected some cash, stowed it in their garters, and played on.

We got a positively smoking Money to Burn, featuring Todd Pasternack on fucking fire, Ass Ferrets in full effect, getting it all. out. Wow. And then Max Verna on his bread & butter, Sneakin' Sally Through the Alley. His version would make Phish stop playing it out of shame. Fuck yeah, Max. Hope I Shall Arrive was a sweet sendoff, and then, finally, Greg Bell got his Ship, and even sang backup vocals on the ever popular chorus, "Don't wanna swim in shit no more!" Somewhere in there, the clock struck 2:11AM and we had a toast.

Ahhh, another fun Seapods show in the books! See? Don't fret. Nothing to worry about. They always come back. You just have to hand them enough money.

It was awesome seeing the boys (all of them) together and enjoying themselves again. It was awesome seeing so many friends/family together again. I love Late Nights in Albany! More praise here! OMINOUS SEAPODS, 12/17/11, Valentine's, Albany, NY-- DANA'S MOVING DOWN UNDER FAREWELL: 9.3 HUZZAHS!!! Gotta leave room for improvement.

GOOD LUCK, MONTEITH FAMILY! Don't get any cats, I'm coming to visit and I'm allergic!

Set One: Jet Smooth Ride, Blackberry Brandy > As I Stand Here Now, Matchmaker, Taste Sensation Overload*, Out of Myself*, It’s A Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘N’ Roll)**, If I Had a Smile > Guide to Roadside Ecology > Michael Murphy III, Cary Suite

Set Two: Bong Hits and Porn*, Waiting 4 Da Bomb 2 Drop* > The Pull From Adirondack Blue***, Anything is Possible*, Buddahful Belly, Your Life Has Been Cancelled* > Land Down Under**** > Cancelled*, It’s Good to be Alive*, Josephine’s Grand Motion* > Room of Ruins*, Leaving The Monopole*

Encore: Am I Ever Going to See Your Face Again?%
Encore2: Money to Burn#, Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley, Hope I Shall Arrive Soon, Ship$

*with Todd Pasternack on guitar and vocals

**AC/DC cover, with Brian Mangini on lead vocals and melodica, with Todd Pasternack

***with Vinnie Amico (from moe.) on drums and Josh Himmelsbach on mandolin

****Men at Work cover

%The Angels cover

#with Pink Floyd jam

$ with Greg Bell on backing vocals

DOWNLOAD THE SHOW!! Thanks, Jason Townley/Undertaper Productions! http://www.archive.org/details/OS2011-12-17.OS2011-12-17


^ How cool would it be if Tomo became the new drummer for Led Zeppelin and they did world tour? Awwwwesome.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Morning Jacket w/ Band of Horses, 12/14/11, MSG, NYC

My Morning Jacket w/ Band of Horses, 12/14/11, MSG, NYC

For years, I've listened to friends rave about My Morning Jacket's intense live shows, but apart from American Dad's My Morning Straightjacket episode, I have barely been exposed to their music. The fault is squarely mine. I never properly motivated to see them, until now. And perhaps the timing was just right, cuz I finally felt ready-- I was actually psyched to go see My Morning Jacket.

Stan Smith trips balls.

A giant pregame gathering at Rogue included 1 questionable and 1 good cocktail-- disappointing, but they more than made up for it with the delicious chicken fingers layed upon a bed of french fries with 4 dippin' sauces (and of course, the Lady Gaga videos playing on the large screen). I've pregamed at Rogue before, but it would seem that during Happy Hour on a Wednesday at least, the Ring of Douche in that 'hood is wider than I had recalled. It was still easier to deal with than Stout.

Some of my friends are in musical-man-love with Band of Horses. Therefore, we headed in early to catch every second. I missed them at Bonnaroo 2009, because they played opposite Snoop Dogg & Erykah Badu. That particular scheduling conflict means that you are gonna catch Band of Horses some other time in the future, if they still exist. And they still do, so I did. See? Everything worked out! They had a kind of mellower Cowboy-ish Neil Youngy / Jane's Addiction Ballady / Wilco / Something Else (nutmeg?) in a blender. Ethereal anthemic layering brought their songs to each pitch. We debated whether certain songs were ultimately happy or sad, but always came to the conclusion that no matter which, they were all really pretty. The room was far from full, but the band played it well and the crowd absorbed it all in. I could see them doing really well at moe.down.

By the time the set was over, I had to piss like a Band of Horses. It was one of those 2-minute pees that warms you up, because you have been using all your reserve energy normally allocated to sustaining body heat towards holding it in for so long.

They are renovating Madison Square Garden. The hallways are foreign. There are many more full bars, which is awesome for those of us who can't drink beer. Now, instead of just being plastic water bottle cap Nazis, they pour all beverages into cups. Nothing like increasing your costs and creating excessive waste, is there? Way to think locally, act globally, and pass on the savings, MSG. So, if you were planning on throwing capless bottles of pee at your favorite artists/athletes, you're out of luck-- don't forget to bring a Ziplock. Another change: they've removed the walkway inside the arena between the 100's & 200's section. This will definitely make travel within shows more challenging.

The place had filled in and it was time for My Morning Jacket to begin to close out their tour. A few of us parked our asses in section 101 and the new chairs fucking swallowed us whole. These cushiony chairs are dangerous. Specs-wise, there's less leg room (I'm 5'4 and only had about 2 inches of knee-wiggle room when fully slouched), but there are cup holders now and what red-blooded American doesn't love a fucking cup holder or 20K? Only the Commies!

MMJ immediately created a strange, but really comfortable space in the room, while maintaining an absolutely electric energy level. They cruised around their huge catalog of songs, with stops in each genre. They got into some large, noisy, loud grooves and fucking shredded some twistedly sweet Southern Rock / Nashville / Honky Tonk sounds. There was even a little Morphine-y thing going on at points. Always building, and always able to be inhaled deeply. We said "WOW", a lot. The lighting and stage design were intensely beautiful compliments. It was pretty damn awesome.

Jim James is an effective howler. A friend explained this is because he is from Kentucky and they howl a lot there. He also reminded me that MMJ love recording in a grain silo-- something I'd read in Rolling Stone earlier this year, but had never quite understood until now. MSG had been magically transported to the inside of a grain silo outside of Louisville, Kentucky. And that would be the definition of "effective howling".

Also, not to sound like Stan Smith or anything, but Jim James is a motherfucking Showman. One doesn't typically see lead guitarists channeling James Brown and Liberace, except for maybe Prince, but-- he Prince. Fantastic Footwork + a Cape / Cloak to set the drama + all the Louder Than Life attributes of a Kickass Rock n' Roll Lead Man = That Guy.

Encore was fabulous and included a cameo by Brian Jackson, a Jazz Flute Ambassador of sorts. He sat in on an 80's cover called The Bottle, and I gotta be honest with you, it came a little out of nowhere, was very Starsky & Hutch/Shaft/Jethro Tull, and I had the giggles the entire way through. Mad respeck, though. They closed the show/tour with I'll Be Home For Christmas, which only worked because Jim James was wearing giant black cloak, hood up. Super dark.

The crowd was a pretty entertaining scene that kept digging itself a deeper hole throughout the night. I haven't seen so much bromance in a single arena since that Promise Keepers convention.

Shit yeah, My Morning Jacket was fucking awesome and I will totally see them again!! This was a kickass show that completely blew me away. I am glad I was finally able to accept My Morning Jacket into my life. It was time. I BELIEVE!!!! Band of Horses were super pretty and I'll definitely check them out again, though would prefer a smaller venue next time. The sound in the Garden was mixed well enough, but it was HELLA loud in there. Like, a wall of loud. Ugh, MSG-- why do you make my ears ring??? Whyyyyyy?!!?

My Morning Jacket & Band of Horses (+ being surrounded by awesome friends and all of the warming goodness that brings along with it), 12/14/11, MSG, NYC: 9.2 HUZZAHS!!!!

K, so, I put little-to-no-effort into taking pics at this show (aka, getting off my lazy ass), which is why I'll direct you to the absolutely awesome ones that Brooklyn Vegan has posted-- there are some great vids in there too. Thanks, Brooklyn Vegan!

Victory Dance
It Beats 4 U ->
First Light
I'm Amazed
Wonderful *
Steam Engine
Outta My System ->
Dancefloors +
Mageetah ->
Dondante #
Smokin' From Shootin
Run Thru (end) ->
Touch Me, I'm Going To Scream Pt. 2 ->
Off The Record ->

Bermuda Highway @
Wordless Chorus
Day Is Coming
The Bottle #
Holding On To Black Metal -> +
One Big Holiday
I'll Be Home For Christmas %

* = w/Ben Bridwell from Band Of Horses on vocals
+ = w/Dearland horn section
# = w/Brian Jackson on flute and keys
% = w/all of Band of Horses standing around 1 vocal mic
@ = Jim James solo acoustic

DOWNLOAD THE SHOW! Thanks, Jon Pasternak! http://www.archive.org/details/mmj2011-12-14.mg210.flac16

^ Christmas music drives me bonkers.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

moe., Floodwood, & Ha Ha the Moose, 11/25 & 26/11, T5 & Sullivan Hall, NYC

moe., 11/25 & 26/11, Terminal 5, NYC
Floodwood, 11/26/11
& Ha Ha the Moose, 11/27/11, Sullivan Hall, NYC

Rob has a mustache.

Thanksgiving Run shows are a fantastic way to blow off the pent up steam of holiday stress, mostly because sitting at a table full of relatives for multiple hours can be incredibly difficult. However, this Thanksgiving, I spent the entire day in bed with an excruciating migraine. I'm not sure if it was less stressful than a Holiday Meal, but that depends on who is actually around the table, and how much one enjoys having the back of your skull bashed in with a baseball bat. It can vary from person to person. One thing is for sure: puking when you didn't earn it, is even more of a drag. Anyways, head-in-the-toilet, I wondered if potentially missing a moe. show at Terminal 5 due to physical incapacitation would make it an easier loss than say, if that moe. show were at the Hammerstein, or Roseland, or the Nokia Best Buy Theater.

The apprehension I have towards seeing any shows at Terminal 5 is equal to, if not greater than the stress I get at the prospect of loading-in a weekend full of camping equipment to Gelston Estate for moe.down. The venue is an obstacle. I fucking hate Terminal 5. The sound is awful, the sight-lines are worse, the drinks are horrendously overpriced (even for NYC), and it's a fucking death trap that needs better exits^.

Which is why I'm so happy to report that this Thanksgiving Run (possibly due to the fact that I scored sweet spots to watch both nights from), moe. bent Terminal 5 over and completely dominated it in an unforgiving and unrelenting power move that would make Jerry Sandusky blush.

FRIDAY, 11/25/11

Friday night started out with Happy Hour moe.jitos. By the time I was pried away from those, it continued with the last 10 minutes of Dumpstaphunk's set, which turned out to be plenty for me (Dumpstaphunk that is, not rum & sugar-- I could have easily been talked into more rum & sugar). Terminal 5 had the 3rd floor closed off, which was a shame, as one of the (only) best viewing locations in the venue is up there. We wound up on the floor, about 1/3 of the way back on chuck.side-- not a terrible alt. Shit, it's Terminal 5, I was ecstatic to see the stage at all. Not going deafer in one ear was a perk.

moe. started building the tension right out of the gate, with a lovely Skrunk -> Bullet -> a super dirty Downward Facing Dog -> a rainbowy socks NYC. Fresh off supporting Yonder Mountain String Band on their Fall Tour, Andy Falco from the Infamous Stringdusters joined the boys on a Telecaster for a kickin' Waiting for the Punchline. Ivan Neville from Dumpstaphunk appeared on keys for Can't You Hear Me Knockin', which was fun, but felt like an impending setbreak-- which it was. Fun set, felt a little short, might have had something to do with all that rum & sugar. I should have had more.

Speaking of rum & sugar, despite having my glasses on, something was up with Rob's face. From my spot, I couldn't tell if it was a moe.jito fueled hallucination or not, but in certain lights it looked like Rob was sporting a mustache! In other lights-- not so much, which is when I thought the rum & sugar was toying with my brain. But, no-- it's all true-- ROB HAS A MUSTACHE. Or at least he did- he's been growing one for the Movember Prostate Cancer Awareness & Fundraising Month (donate to Rob's mustache here). It's pretty awesome and perhaps it's morbid curiosity, but I hope he keeps it a while longer. Description-wise, I'm torn between choosing the direction of the vibe of the mustache-- there was either a Redneck Trucker or an FDNY thing going on, but it's still in it's very early stages and it would be interesting to see how it matures. MUSTACHE!

For SET II, we relocated to a little nook on al.side, and sacrificed the FOH sound for a sheltered speaker (earplugs zone), closer view, and less elbows. And a fucking FANTASTIC Set. Billy Goat > a suuuuuper evil and ridiculously dark Tubing the River Styx -> The Pit. I never get sick of the boys belting this out. The room bubbles with toil & trouble. YOU LOVE IT. Letter Home was the oldie time raggae-ish version, very sweet. A delightful Spine -> Buster -> Haze (w/ Rob on vocals, which I like, not that I didn't like Al on vocals, cuz I did, but it changes the whole tone of the song which was an interesting switch). Encore was another dose of evil: Akimbo. Earlier in the night someone had asked me why Chuck is Satan, mid-way through Akimbo, I tapped him on the shoulder, pointed at our beloved Dark Lord, and screamed, "THAT'S WHY!!!"

A kickass moe. show -> Sullivan Hall for late night Floodwood (Al & Vinnie's bluegrass project) action. Their Brooklyn show in October was during ALDS Game 5, which is why I couldn't make it. In hindsight, Floodwood would have been the less depressing choice, but it didn't happen-- so I was psyched for the chance to do some late night Floodwooding post-moe.. I didn't realize just how late of a night it would be. The show didn't start til after 2AM (blame has been pointed at the venue for making us stand on line for like a fucking hour before opening the doors). By that point, I was too damn tired to care about the show. Knowing Saturday night was gonna be another late night, I gave myself a 3AM cutoff and enjoyed the portion I was there to see. Floodwood are great, it was a fun show, a little mellow for the fighting-exhaustion phase I was in, but still enjoyable. Andy Falco also sat in with Floodwood. At 3:05AM, someone offered me Molly. No. Uh... Thank you? It was Sleepytimes.

Also, I burnt the roof of my mouth on Joe's Pizza. It's wasn't the first time and it certainly won't be the last. Sometimes, you just can't wait another minute.

I: Skrunk > Bullet > Downward Facing Dog > New York City, Waiting For The Punchline# > Can't You Hear Me Knocking#%
II: Billy Goat > Tubing The River Styx > The Pit, Letter Home, Spine Of A Dog > Buster > Haze
Encore: Akimbo

# w/ Andy Falco from the Infamous Stringdusters on Electric Guitar
% w/ Ivan Neville from Dumpstaphunk on Wurlitzer

DOWNLOAD THE SHOW! Thanks, Scott Bernstein: http://www.archive.org/details/moe2011-11-25.tlm170.flac16

(When the Floodwood show goes up on the archive, the link to download it will be here)

SATURDAY, 11/26/11

The moe.jitos continued to flow on Friday. With no opener, moe. hit the stage an hour earlier, which would help pace us through what was surely going to be a loud, Freedom-Loving, Flag-Eating, all-nighter. Also, yes, the rum & sugar. El Herno tried to buy a new bumper sticker, but could not, as moe. were not allowed to sell stickers that night. Is this a venue-policy? What possibly could have happened? Ha!

After a 15 second Think Tank, we noticed that the 3rd floor was open and booked it upstairs-- just in time to secure one of the only GREAT spots in the venue-- 3rd floor, center rail! A great view, with great sound, at Terminal 5. BIZARRO! Shit. Yeah. There was no reason to wander around. And I mean for serious-- how fucking psyched were we? SO FUCKING PSYCHED. NIGHT 2.

Set I was great, Blue Eyed Son with Al on Mandolin was a sweet highlight. Big World -> Ricky Marten -> a HUGE Lazarus, which-- apparently they added a verse and are calling it "The Bones of Lazarus" now, but--- I mean, come on-- it's a duck, it's a dog, whatever, fuck you! MUSTACHE! GIANT DISCO BALL!

I was super pumped for Set II, annnd they started with Blue Jeans Pizza-- meh. Time to wander. This really only ended up proving once again, that when Terminal 5 is crowded, there are barely ANY good spots to see the show. I was back upstairs by the end of the voluminous and expanding Puebla (I like) -> to enjoy a fucking ridiculous, muscle-flexing, amphetamine ridden, Brent Black. The drum solos were brilliant and playful. Vinnie was out of control. Rob's bass solo was loud and bouncy. Good stuff. The middle of the set was great, but Rebubula hypnotized the room -> Where Does the Time Go? to tug at the heartstrings -> the triumphant ending to the love fest that is Rebubula. At one point, when the music and lights got low, the glowing blue LED beacon on Rob's pretty new bass, lit up the entire room. "The brightest things in the room at this moment, are Rob's balls."

They Encored with Together At Christmas, which was cute, but Christmas Season drives me fucking bonkers and I'm already sick of it, so... Thank the little baby Jesus for She Sends Me, cuz it brought the energy way back up and it was a stellar way to end the night! moe. fucking rocked Terminal 5. At least from where I was standing, they were able to eliminate the cold, industrial, emptiness of T5, and replace it with great vibes and that patented moe. love. Mad skillz.

We piled into the Quad Laser and shot down to Sullivan Hall to be abused by 3 men in capes and Mexican Wrestling Masks. Not the weekly League. It was time for Ha Ha the Moose. MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSE!!!!!!

From start to finish, the crowd seemed a bit too drained and too exhausted to come up with any creative insults to hurl at the mysterious Trio. There were a lot of "FUCK YOU!" 's and "YOU SUCK!" 's. But nothing along the lines of "HEY GUANO, WHY DON'T YOU STRETCH OUT THAT MASK OVER A WATERMELON AND LET IT SIT IN THE SUN BEFORE A GIG?" or, "YO JEFF VON KICKASS, LOSE THE STILTS, WE ALL KNOW YOU'RE AN ALBINO PYGMY!" and of course, "HEY SLUDGE, NICE PANTS, ASSHOLE!" Just some suggestions for next time, kids.

Ha Ha the Moose worked through some of their greatest hits, including, but not limited to: The Magnum P.I. Theme song, the surf guitar til your face bleeds Thirsty Carbunkle, Mr. Her, Ha Ha the Moose (the most classic of all), Devil Toad (the most face melting of all), Donkey Show (the most romantic of all), Redneck Trilogy, The Magnum P.I. Theme song (again). Despite the crickets chirping away, to add insult to injury, Ha Ha the Moose Encored. Don't Fuck w/ Flo was loud, messy, pretty fucking great-- and of course, Simple Mind's smash hit off the Breakfast Club soundtrack, Don't You Forget About Me. Especially appropriate because earlier in the evening, D.Mighty was reciting Emilio Estevez's monologue about taping Larry Lester's ass cheeks together. It was meant to be!

This night, Ha Ha the Moose tested the patience of even the most devout Ha Ha the Moose fan, and for that, I applaud them. Or rather, "MOOOOOOOOOOOSE!!!!!!" I can't believe we've been putting up with this shit for over a decade. And giving them money!!! Dr. Guano's Moostache was a fantastic addition to the Ha Ha stage. I would totally inspect his moostache... in the name of freedom. MOOOOOOStache!

I can't promise it'll happen again, but I actually really enjoyed a 2 nighter at the worst venue in NYC. moe. rocked Terminal 5. The post-show shows were stellar. And fantastic music with great friends is a always a killer formula for success. It all added up to a sweet (rum & sugar?) adventure that left me pondering a moe. NYE, which won't actually happen cuz I'm not driving to Maine, but ponder-- sure. The temptation is there.

moe. (& Floodwood & Ha Ha the Moose), 11/25 & 11/26/11, Terminal 5 (& Sullivan Hall): 9 HUZZAHS!!! MUSTACHE!!!!!!

I: Paper Dragon > Wind It Up > Captain America, Blue Eyed Son, Big World > Ricky Marten > Lazarus
II: Blue Jeans Pizza > Puebla > Brent Black, Not Coming Down > Wormwood > Rebubula > Where Does the Time Go? > Rebubula
Encore: Together At Christmas, She Sends Me

DOWNLOAD THE SHOW! THanks, Scott Bernstein! http://www.archive.org/details/moe2011-11-26.tlm170.flac16

DOWNLOAD Ha Ha the Moose! Thanks, T.J. Samulis! http://www.archive.org/details/hhtm2011-11-26.mk4.nbox


^ I'm getting old.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Yonder Mountain String Band, 10/29/11, Best Buy Theater, NYC

Yonder Mountain String Band, 10/29/11, Best Buy Theater, NYC
(w/ Infamous Stringdusters & Noam Pikelny)

It's hard to edit photos and write a bloggy when there's no power (and heat). There's also a reason that the opposite of Bikram Yoga never caught on: because it sucks. Now, without further ado, from a warm, electricity filled home office: the Yonder Best Buy review.

A couple of days before this show, my friends Matt & Jen from Boston, whom had talked me into going to Yonder's HoB Boston show last Fall, decided to make the trip down to NYC get their Fall Yonder Fix on. This seemed like a great idea and probably would have gone a lot more smoothly if not for the freak October Snowstorm that slammed into the tri-state region last weekend, bringing with it incredibly wet, heavy snow, that decimated all previously-storm-damaged trees. I thought someone was setting off firecrackers in the neighborhood, but it was actually just tree limbs snapping off like whatever it is that snaps off easily.

The trip from Boston, which should normally take less than 4 hours, took Matt & Jen over 6, as they had to re-route numerous times due to fallen trees closing roads. About an hour before they got to me, our power shit the bed. Fucking hell. Between that, the closed roads trying to get to the Parkway, the shitty drivers who lack the skill to drive in any sort of precipitation, and the fact that we needed to sit down and have a short pregame meal at the Irish Rogue to keep us on the sane path- we didn't actually get to the Best Buy theater until The Infamous Stringdusters had 10 minutes left in their set. This was a real fucking shame, as we were all incredibly psyched to see them. A real fucking shame, as those guys are fucking awesome. We enjoyed listening/watching them from the lobby as we checked our coats and got some booze.

Holy fuck, I was psyched for this show! My ears have been sullied with mostly horrible music at work for weeks, and Yonder were going to re-set my brain with a Cucumber Sorbet of Bluegrassy Fantasticness. This was the plan. And I really wanted to hang in the Dave Zone^, despite it's proximity to the door closest to the entrance. Had a hankerin', can't deny.

The scene was rowdy before the band even took the stage. When they finally did-- total madness! The insanity of Halloween-time shows is an interesting phenomenon. It sets people into Turbo. Views are more obstructed due to wigs, hats, Slutty Cats, and elbows flying into your face. Halloween-time shows seem to grant concert-goers a built-in special permission to get unapologetically As Messy As Possible. It's almost your responsibility to get shit-faced. Or is it?

SET I began with a fantastic Shake Me Up. Super awesome, the crowd was moving, a great First Live Yonder Song of the Fall, and a smart way to start the show. The ENERGY in the room was CHURNING. More highlights in Maid of the Canyon and Part 1. They sounded great, but there were portions of the early part of SET I that kinda lost me. It slowed down a bit a few times and there were some noticeable energy fluctuations. The setlist didn't feel as cohesive as it could have been. However, they fucking blew the fucking room up from the hoppin' Little Rabbit -> through a gorgeous Out of the Blue, and a Holdin' set closer so sweet, you wanted to give it a great, big, giant hug.

The energy plateaus and downgrades are both good and bad. Bad because you WANT that energy and momentum to keep BUILDING. It's layer upon layer of DELICIOUS. That's when Yonder are in their fucking SWEET ZONE. For me, I miss it when it's not like that. Good, because up front in the Dave/Ben Zone, it had become a Total Shit Show and Furry Convention. Large men in fleece onesies were falling over from drunkenness, in between making out with their girlfriends, who could no longer stand up by themselves. Amateur Hour. Anyways-- GOOD, because it calmed some of that Obnoxious Shit down a bit. The band has actually talked about doing this- slowing down the tempo when shit gets too crazy to settle people down. Or, you know, occasionally speeding it up for fun in the same situation, just to see what will happen. And thusly: Yonder on crowd control. I love it. Shit works. Gotta wonder if it was being implemented on this occasion.

As much as I wanted to stay in the Dave/Ben Zone, conditions had deteriorated and it was clearly doomed. It was time to migrate. During setbreak we shifted towards the Jeff/Adam Zone, which was significantly more manageable. Location, location, location! There was, however, one worrisome dude in a sombero about 4 feet in diameter, who really liked to dance.

SET II picked up with a driving energy in Down the River Road. Awesome. So so happy that we moved into safer real estate. The mid-set kind of mellowed out a bit again (though I do have a soft spot for Crazy), but Spanish Harlem Incident lit a fucking fuse that burned through the rest of the show. It left the room buzzing.

Then, The Infamous Stringdusters and Noam Pikelny from The Punch Brothers came out (they had been "percolating backstage") and joined Yonder for the duration of the show. This is when the real shit went down. THIS is what we came to see, hear, & feel. Let's be real-- it's always a real fucking treat when the guest musicians ADD to the show rather than SUBTRACT (I'm looking at you, Bob Weir.), and these guys absolutely BROUGHT IT. They took turns completely RAGING Pretty Daughter & Death Trip, which were INTENSE & EVIL. The energy in the room was on fire. The fuse was burning. It felt gooood. Fuck yeah. The inconvenience of an Encore Break split up what was undoubtedly the most enjoyable part of the evening. They ALL came back out and did a really fun, rollicking, Up On The Hill Where They Do the Boogie. Great energy. And then they fucking ripped the shit out of a MASSIVE Let Me Fall, wherein the room fucking exploded with greatness! KABOOM!! Goddamn, I really wanted to hear that song!!! Thank you, Yonder Mountain String Band! Let Me Fall Craving: Satiated. Awesome.

a Furry disrobes

Jeff thanks the crowd for continuing to throw things at the band.

So so so glad that the show ended on such an high note like that. It certainly wasn't the best Yonder show I've ever seen, it wasn't my favorite setlist, but they sounded great, and the chunks of awesome that appeared at strategic moments made this a great show. It definitely did the trick, I got my Fall Yonder Fix on. That energized ending left me thirsty for so much more, and I won't get to see them again for months-- GRRRRRR...

I was also glad that after making such a shiteous trek down, Jen & Matt were rewarded with a fun show. We went back to a chilly house, but the leftover Infamous Yonder Brothers Glow (and the fact that I cranked the heat after the first couple of power surges in the early afternoon, expecting the worst) kept us warm through the night.

Thanks to Yonder for more fun. Apologies to The Stringdusters for missing their set. Just means they'll have to come back soon. And Goddamnit Yonder, why don't you play NYC more often??? Yonder Mountain String Band w/ fantastic guests The Infamous Stringdusters & Noam Pikelny, 10/29/11, Best Buy Theater, NYC: 8 HUZZAHS!!!


Shake Me Up
All The Time
Must've Had Your Reasons
Maid of the Canyon
Part 1 ->
Finally Saw the Light ->
Lay It On The Line
Just Like Old Times
Little Rabbit ->
Out of the Blue

Down the River Road
One More
Far From You
Sometimes I've Won
Spanish Harlem Incident
Pretty Daughter*
Death Trip*

Up On the Hill Where They Do the Boogie*
Let Me Fall*

* w/ The Infamous Stringdusters & Noam Pikelny from the Punch Brothers

** The show isn't up on archive or etree yet, but as soon as it is, the link to DOWNLOAD will be here**


^ aka "Bevo side"