Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Almost God Street Wine, 5/20 & Dos Heteros, 5/22/11

Almost God Street Wine, 5/20/11, Joe's Pub, NYC
Dos Heteros, 5/22/11, Mighty High Mountain Festival, Tuxedo Ridge, NY

FRIDAY, 5/20/11

Yah, so I skipped my Sister's Auf Ruf (which is just a fancy Jew name for a short prayer that's given a week before one's wedding) on this particular Friday night to go see Almost God Street Wine at Joe's Pub. She gets me all of Memorial Day Weekend with aforementioned wedding and Good Lord Cheesus knows that I'm missing my choice of 3 awesome Summer Music Happenings (Summer Camp, DelFest, & Phish's Bethel Jaunt) because of the timing. No, the weekend before belonged to God Street Wine. Or rather, Almost God Street Wine.

These Early Friday Joe's Pub sets are a rough commute to start with. Throw in a Subway Series and it's kind of a nightmare-- traffic suuuucked. I started on the mojitos the second I got there. Rum -> Almost Wine. Perfectly safe.

Lo Faber, Aaron Maxwell, Dan Pifer, and Jon Bevo. 4/5 of the equation = Almost God Street Wine. Or perhaps Das Quartinas? Hmm... No matter, the boys assumed positions and kicked off the show with a beautiful Home Again to get us all back in The Zone. It worked. Did I mention that song was beautiful? The whole fucking set was beautiful. The sound was perfect. The tone was sweet. The room was focused. Bevo had a set of keys sitting on top of the Baby Grand. So so good.

With such a short set, it was pretty much all highlights. Weird Dream was inspired. Supplemental GSW member, Jason Crosby, came out to play 6-string violin starting with a beautiful (that's #4) Silver and would stay in for the rest of the show. A hot Hellfire in honor of the impending Rapture. Light My Candles was freakin' awesome. Aaron just killed the end vocals on it-- wowza! Is this getting redundant? GoTT was really fun. Tide, glorious. Audience participation. HUGE fucking highlight: CHEAP UTAH BLUES. Super duper fun. Aaron shredding on Lo's Telecaster! Dan layed it down, Lo brought it, and Jason took it over the edge. Into the Sea ... just absolutely ... beautiful (#5). Positively wonderful to have The Highlander himself, Dan Pifer, bouncing around and harmonizing in the back. Bevo set the mood perfectly with the traditional electric approach. Awesome.

Lo got to pick the encore cuz it was his Birthday--- or because he writes the setlists. Hmm?? He chose Dire Strait's Romeo & Juliet, which was quite pretty, but wasn't New Eyes, 6:15, or Bring Back The News. Earlier in the set, the crowd serenaded him with a popular Birthday number that was most definitely NOT a copyrighted tune that costs a ton of money to license. No, nothing like that at all. He also refused to put the frilly Birthday Crown on-- probably because he didn't want to disrupt his stylin' new do. See, Gabe? I told you we should have gone with the tiara. Happy Birthday, Lo! :)

Goddamn, it was great to see the boys together like this again. Keeps us young, it does. Can't wait for the next one!!! Brand New Pussycat? Dan would rock that shit.

Sooo... When are we gonna get Tomo in on one of these things? Tomo, you bring the Egg-Shaker, I'll get you a Triangle.

Here are a few awesome videos of the show taken by Macky who was on the job all night... Check out his youtube channel for the rest of 'em!

Into the Sea

Additionally, you can watch/listen/stream the *ENTIRE* show, provided via Joe's Pub interwebs linkup! FUCKING AWWWWE-SOMMMME!
Watch live streaming video from joespub at

Home Again
Please Don't Speak of These Things
Goodnight Gretchen->
Weird Dream
Light My Candles*
Driving West*
Definitely Not the Copyrighted Version of Happy Birthday to Lo
The Ballroom*
Get on the Train*
Waiting for the Tide*
Cheap Utah Blues*
She Comes Up Softly*
Into the Sea*

Romeo and Juliet*

*w/ Jason Crosby on 6-String Violin

Of course you can also DOWNLOAD THE SHOW! Thanks, Scott B.!

SUNDAY, 5/22/11

Late Saturday night, my Festival Spidey-Sense began to tingle. It had been raining nonstop for about 2 weeks at that point. "Mud." I said out loud to no one in particular. This was quickly confirmed by my Mole in the Field, Rhonda Lieberman, who declared it "The Muddy High Festival". Yes, it would surely be a rubber boots kinda day.

Breakfast^ doesn't even get me up this early on a Sunday, but skiing and most anything GSW^^-related will. Steel thermos of coffee in hand, I arrived at Tuxedo Ridge (formerly Sterling Forest Ski Mountain, where my Middle School used to bus us up for night-skiing on Wednesdays) around 11:10AMish, in case the Dos Heteros set actually started at it's scheduled 11:30AM slot (which I didn't buy for a second). It was overcast, misty/precipitous, and with a massive amount of hay absorbing the bulk of it--- innocuously muddy. Though quite squishy up close to the stage.

At Noon, Lo & Aaron took the stage with the debut of Rain by the Beatles. Very cute. There was a sparse crowd, but more people were crawling out of the woodwork as the set moved along. Drive West, Tide. Molly was particularly awesome and afterwards some Wook in the back announced he had some in his pocket. Stranger was beautiful (#6). Hey Pocky (A)Way -> RU4 Real? was fun. Another sick Light My Candles with Aaron belting it out towards the end--- his voice actually cleared my sinuses. An Aaron Neti. He could market that. Gretchen got some screams from the crowd. Book of Rules was also cute. And Nightingale was... really fucking great. Love it!

Mad propz to the older couple who were dancing their asses off all set. Rhonda said they'd been at it all weekend.

More folks should be getting to these Dos Heteros gigs. They are a satisfyingly sweet fix. Good for the ol' GSW hankering. And sometimes you don't know how badly you missed it until it's right in front of your face. Doooo iiiiit!

Ahh, good shit. A later & longer Joe's slot next time around would be nice. And for fuck's sake can we finally organize an official afterparty for it? Let's make it happen.

Almost God Street Wine, 5/20/11, Joe's Pub, NYC & Lo Faber/Aaron Maxwell Acoustical Madness Duo, 5/22/11, Mighty High Mountain Festival, Tuxedo Ridge, NY-- A Weekend of Wine: 10 HUZZAHS!!!

The Racing Hill. In 5 or 6th Grade, this became the first ski run to mangle my knee and break my nose.

Rain (Beatles)
Drive West
Hey Pocky Away ->
RU4 Real?
Don't Speak of These Things
Light My Candles
Book of Rules

There were some tapers, but I've yet to see a copy of the show up on the archive... I'll keep checking and if one appears, the link to DL will be HERE.


^ Bacon totally would, if I smelled it early enough.
^^ or moe.... or if i had to pee bad enough.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

American Babies, 5/13 & 5/14, Albany, NY & Wilkes-Barre, PA

American Babies
5/13/11, Red Square, Albany, NY
5/14/11, River Street Jazz Cafe, Wilkes-Barre/Plains, PA

FRIDAY, 5/13/11

An added perk of American Babies fandom (besides being the envy of all your friends because you clearly have impeccable taste in music) is that they are incredibly easy to find on the iPod-- very close to the top, you see. Though, this wouldn't help on Friday 5/13, as I have a rule of not listening to the band I am going to see on the day of (especially on the drive to) a show. The same thing goes for the ride back, but that is more lenient, as sometimes I need to hear a specific song the band did not play, and in rare cases must appease that craving on a song-by-song basis. Anyways, in the days leading up to the Albany show, I was pondering what my soundtrack for the ride would be, because over the past couple of weeks I have been listening to the Babies excellent new album, Flawed Logic, & the 4/29 Mercury Lounge show constantly. The Yanks/BoSox game got me through most of the ride, but when things went sour, I turned to the Bad Livers. Seemed appropriate.

Grape Drink is awesome and American Babies are my Grape Drink. I was psyched to see 'em again so soon. Live Music OCD actually had me really worried that if I didn't see their Burlington Metronome show the previous night, I would miss something spectacular. Like David Bowie materializing out of thin air, Knighting Tom Hamilton, and presenting him with the Royal Goldfish for Outstanding Achievements in Rock Music. Which didn't happen, but still-- what if it did and I had missed it? Yes, Albany would do just fine.

Upon arrival, I chilled outside for Turbine's set. Sure, it was a beautiful night & there was plenty of good company out front. But additionally, I am still ever-so-slightly mad at Turbine after the 3-5AMish moe.down xi RV lot set, in which their PA system was set up about 50 feet from our heads, resulting in us wanting to gut their souls for depriving us of at least 2 really important hours of sleep. Moving on.

American Babies called everyone inside with Dance All Night, which began a 2+ hour set of rock awesomeness. The show was mainly comprised of Tom Hamilton's sickeningly sweet originals, but also sprinkled with phatty covers like Dark End of the Street (Percy Sledge), Fa Fa Fa (Otis Redding), Further On Up the Road (made famous by Eric Clapton), & a sweet You Really Got A Hold On Me (Smokey Robinson & the Miracles). Unconventional selections. Original covers, if you will.

But back to the Original Originals. At the core of American Babies are Rock songs that sound so right, they may have been floating around in the collective unconscious since the Dawn of Time until finally someone (Hamilton) was able to recall them. (Putting the bag of chips down.) If you are a fan of Bruce Springsteen, Elvis, The Beatles, Brian Setzer, Johnny Cash--- if you are a fan of GREAT ROCK MUSIC, you will quickly fall in love with this band.

The whole show rocked. Highlights of the highlights: Streets of Brooklyn, Desperate Times, Joeline, Rocker, Swimming at Night, Brooklyn Bridge, Fa Fa Fa, The Sin, Baby Don't Cry, Winter War Games, and both encores-- Restless Heart and a dirty/sick/gritty version of Dylan's Tonight I'll Be Staying Here w/ You. Shit yeah.

New bass player, Mark Karwan^ is fresh off the National Tour of the Broadway musical, In The Heights. This was his 2nd show with the Babies and he's quickly finding his spot in The Beat-Down Equation, which during show #2 was him pointing and laughing at you. What I mean by that is: Adam Flicker's keys will throw sand in your face before Dave Butler's drums kick your ass and Tom Hamilton's Zazz puts a cigarette (or two) out in your eye. And you'll fucking beg for more.

As always, thanks to promoter Greg Bell, for all that he does to keep the Live Music scene thriving in Albany.

5/13/11, Red Square, Albany, NY
Dance All Night
Streets of Brooklyn
Desperate Times
I Want A Girl
Dark End of the Street
You Really Got a Hold On Me
Swimming At Night
Brooklyn Bridge
Fa Fa Fa
The Sin
Night Has Fallen
Invite Your Friends
Baby, Don't Cry
American Babies
Weight of the World
Further On Up The Road
California's Calling
Winter War Games

Restless Heart
Tonight I'll Be Staying Here w/ You

SATURDAY, 5/14/11

I was awoken around 7AM by the faint aroma of Cheetos that seemed to be emanating from the carpet of a shitty hotel. Since there were no Cheetos to be found in the vicinity, my only guess as to it's origin was that this carpet was haunted by the ghost of a murdered Cub Scout trying to make contact from the afterlife in order to avenge his death. That, or Britney Spears had recently stayed there.

No matter. I had said "why the fuck not?" the night before and decided to see American Babies at the River Street Jazz Cafe in Wilkes-Barre, PA on Saturday too. It was kiiiind of on my way home anyway. So-- fuck it. I was already psyched to hit a Pilot Truckstop (of course there'd be one). It's the little things.

The River Street Jazz Cafe is a cool little venue in a little office-type complex & when I arrived, some locals (it's a safe assumption) were ATV'ing around the parking lot. Welcome to Pennsylvania.

This video covers some bloggy ground, so watch the damn thing.
This is why the kids call it "interactive multi-media".

What was most bizarro to me on this day was that American Babies were opening for a Jeff Beck tribute band. Mad respeck to Jeff Beck, but my head asplode. After drenching the room in bourbon-honey-bacony goodness with a delicious Streets of Brooklyn soundcheck, at showtime the Babies took the stage and blew the crowd away straight out of the gates. There was a great energy in the room and all eyes & ears were on the band... Except for in my peripheral vision, where I was trying to stop watching the Yankees have their asses handed to them... again^^.

Eventually, I turned my back to the total shit-show on the bar's TV and took comfort in the music I had traveled to witness. Annd focus: American Babies. Sweet Rock. They had the crowd eating out of their palms by the end of these 90 minutes. Winter War Games, pushed it way over the edge. Holy fuck. The audience was excited and the room was abuzz.

In Bassist Mark's 3rd show with the band, he sounded more relaxed and confident in exploring the material. He and Dave were laying the rhythm down thick. It's a great combo. Perhaps he is beginning to pour salt into the burnt eyes of your sorry ass. Adam Flicker was again, a shit-ton of fun on keys. Tom Hamilton shredded on Lead Guitar while simultaneously wearing the fuck out of some suspenders. The chemistry up there is magic. More, please!

I skipped out on the Jeff Beck tribute band to get a head-start on my 2 hour drive, which went swimmingly-- and I even saw my very first coyote!! Freakin' bonus!!

A giant thank you to Tom, the owner of River Street Jazz Cafe, who was super awesome, hospitable, and I couldn't find to thank in-person on my way out. Another huge thanks to the American Babies who kept me entertained while on mini-Grape-Drink-Tour. Totes awesome. Can't wait for the next show, but come on back to NYC, willya?

No tapirs. You'll just have to go see American Babies for yourself! Check their website for the most updated Tour Dates!

American Babies, 5/13/11, Red Square, Albany, NY & 5/14/11, River Street Jazz Cafe, Wilkes-Barre/Plains, PA: 9 HUZZAHS!!! If you don't love American Babies, the Terrorists have already won.

5/14/11, River Street Jazz Cafe, Wilkes-Barre/Plains, PA
Dance All Night
Streets of Brooklyn
Desperate Times
I Want A Girl
Dark End of the Street
You Really Got a Hold On Me
Swimming At Night
Night Has Fallen
Fa Fa Fa
Invite Your Friends
Weight of the World
California's Calling
Winter War Games


^ Jim Hamilton is currently way too busy serving his family, City, and/or Country full-time, to hit the road even part-time. Understandable.
^^ As a total aside, I'd like to add here how completely doomed my fantasy baseball team is and that a head-to-head league format this year may actually destroy me. Last week Kendry Morales was sentenced to season-ending surgery (before his season even began), Jason Heyward lost all feeling in his right hand (awesome), Cano has dropped into a slump like it's '08, Ian Desmond and Mitch Moreland (who I picked up to replace Kendry) are suddenly sidelined with tight hammies. Hughes was a bust from the start, Bailey's been on the DL since opening day, CC just blew another game, and then a few songs into this set I got a news alert that KC had spotted a flaw in my elite closer Soria's delivery-- I don't even know if that's good or bad news anymore. *breathes* (picks up bag of chips.)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Lo Faber & Aaron Maxwell, 5/7/11, Colony Cafe, Woodstock, NY

Lo Faber & Aaron Maxwell, 5/7/11, Colony Cafe, Woodstock, NY

Woodstock, NY. Hippies, crystals, tourists, and tie dyes in every store front. The Colony Cafe, a block off the main drag, is a giant, gorgeous, charming building, and smells exactly how you'd expect a random cavernous Upstate NY building to smell. It smells like character. Also, it's DEFINITELY haunted.

It was a casual affair. I showed up early and spent nearly as much time looking around the venue (which was decorated with fantastic artwork) as I did soaking in soundcheck. Yep, definitely a Woodstockian vibe going on.

Aaron finds an offering in the credenza...

that's been in there since February.

A little Billy Joel.

One snag during soundcheck- something mysterious had been shoved into the input jack of Lo's acoustic guitar and the plug wouldn't stay locked in. The main suspect? One Lolo, aka Lil' Lo, aka Lo's youngest Guitar Tech. After some time trying to pry the foreign object out, an easier solution was reached: a 90 degree plug and a strategic amount of duct tape.

Showtime! K, so I missed the opening act because I was otherwise occupied, cursing Kendrys Morales name into the Upstate Night's Sky-- "KENNNNDRYYYYYYYYS!!!!!!!!" Eventually Lo & Aaron took the stage and rocked out a solid set, including the Dos Heteros debuts of Light My Candles and the Meters' Hey Pocky Way ( -> RU 4 Real?). Freakin' awesome.

Other highlights: Epilog, a beautiful Don't Speak of These Things, Big Papa, Tide (w/ Alex Mazur, of Maaze, on keys), Over the Rainbow, Angeline (there is something so crystal clear about Aaron's voice on this tune, he hits a pitch that leaves me with goose bumps and makes me say "wow" out loud, involuntarily, to no one in particular-- EVERY SINGLE TIME), and a positively stellar Nightingale to close out the set. Which was too bad, cuz they definitely could have kept that momentum going.

There was some interesting shit going on in with the crowd as well. A huge crew of Albany Maaze fans had made the trek down for the show (Maaze went on after Dos). These Children of the Corn included but were not limited to at least one Dee Snider lookalike and none other than Albany's very own Wookie Snooki. Weiss said they must have been on "The Jersey Tour". Spec-fucking-tacular! The whole lot of them spent the Lo/Aaron set dancing their butts off and a'hootin'hollerin'. Glad they dug it, cuz that could have gotten ugly! Strange Scenes from Upstate New York, indeed.

Maaze pulled in a good crowd, hit the stage, and the aforementioned Children of the Corn noodled their balls off from note one. The set started off strong, the lead singer has a great voice, horn section, groove, keys, funk. Our boys hopped on stage for a few Dead tunes which was cool/cute, despite not really being my thang, was still fun to watch.

It smelled like wet dog near the fireplace, but I don't think it was the fireplace. Quickly, that aroma became fused into the walls of my sinuses. You know what that means: time to hit the road! Couldn't wait to get home and Neti like there was no tomorrow. Ohhh, the Neti'ing that was Neti'd!

Psyched I headed up to Woodstock for Lo & Aaron. Am soooooo looking forward to the Almost GSW show at Joe's Pub on the 20th. Extra special thanks to the boys for keeping me entertained with preshow shenanigans. Great time had by all!

Lo & Aaron, 5/7/11, Colony Cafe, Woodstock, NY: 8.5 HUZZAHS! Deductions for the 2 mysterious bug bites to my face. Totes lame.

Poor Boy Long Way Home
Light My Candles
Don't Speak of These Things
Get On The Train
Straight Line
Big Papa
Northern Sky*
Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Hey Pocky Way ->
RU 4 Real?

** Budke taped & when the link to DL the show from the archive goes up, it will HERE **


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

American Babies, 4/29/11, Mercury Lounge, NYC

American Babies, 4/29/11, Mercury Lounge, NYC

(Please note: this is bloggy #211 which is supercool, cuz it's an important one.)


After the Tres Heteros crowd cleared out of Mexicali back in January, American Babies got onstage and played a late night set of relentless balls-out Rock music that left me hooked. I've been super pumped to see them again since that last note hit my eardrums. Very rarely does a band immediately grab me like that. The same thing happened the first time I saw God Street Wine, roughly 18 years ago. It's like being captured, in a good way.

American Babies have an Old Soul. The songwriting is smart & seductive, with brilliant hooks at every turn, and hints of Elvis, Johnny Cash, The Beatles, (classic) Elton John, David Bowie. Rock. Gritty & shredding guitars, ripping keys, a powerful driving rhythm section, and Tom Hamilton's howling vocals delivering the package. They're fucking awesome.

Who's in?

Anyways-- it's exciting. I get excited about getting excited about music.

Their new album, Flawed Logic, came out a couple of weeks ago-- it's very excellent (get it here). Last week, I bugged The Babies' brainchild, Tom Hamilton, with some questions & got some answers. And I fiiiinally got to see them live again last Friday at the Mercury Lounge, for one of their star-studded cd release parties. Totes sweet.

Core lineup: Tom Hamilton (guitar, swagger), Jim Hamilton (bass), Dave Butler (drums), Adam Flicker (Holy keys, though no light in his corner = no pics!). This night, Nick Bockrath sat in on guitar for all but one song.

The Babies kicked off the show with a romping Dance All Night and worked through songs both new and old. After a handful of songs, Joe Russo (played on the albums) came up to play a 2nd drumset next to Dave Butler for the duration. Yes!

Highlights (in no particular order):
- Joeline. Gorgeous, raw, honest. "When they knock your dick in the dirt, will you get right up?" ... "Oh Joeline / I think we got dealt the shit hand."
- Rocker. Who doesn't love Badass Rockabilly?
- Desperate Times. "I got a girl in mind and she knows that it can be such a drag, it can be such a drag."
- Streets of Brooklyn. It's *all* true.
- Weight of the World. Catchier than the catchiest song you know.
- Brooklyn Bridge. Solid. Vivid.
- Winter War Games. There are so many things going on in this song and holy shit, it is absolutely beautiful.
- Dark End of the Street. Great freakin' cover!

Oh, and then you know, almost the entire B-side of Abbey Road, featuring Dave Dreiwitz from Ween on additional bass & Ryan Thornton on percussion (both guests on American Babies albums). Yah. Just that. Jebus. They were having a blast and the place was raging.

They capped it all off with a loud and lively Winter War Games for an Encore (see above, re: Highlights). Beautiful.

What a Scorching Rock Show. Hot damn, I love this band.

To those who haven't yet heard these guys yet--- I've run out of ways to describe how great American Babies are, because I can still only barely comprehend it myself. It's time you take the next step and listen to them (this very post contains linked options). And/or, since their tour just started- go see them!!! Until you do, I've got no choice left but to brazenly insult you (I have a hard time expressing my feelings) for being so fucking ignorant, you Ignorant Fuck. GO SEE THEM.

American Babies^, 4/29/11, Mercury Lounge, NYC: 9.8 HUZZAHS^^!!!

Salvo ran a matrix mix. The second it goes up on the archive, Das Salvo Signal will flood the night's sky, blinding migrating birds, spooking carriage horses, upsetting the ISS Crew, and alerting you. It's shaped like a Tapir. You'll know. Or you could just check back here in a few days.. It sounds great & the archive link is below! DO IT!

Dance All Night
Desperate Times
I Want a Girl
The Sin
Invite Your Friends#
Baby, Don't Cry#
Dark End of the Street# (Percy Sledge... but you have to say "Percy Sledge" like Joey from the Commitments... "Perrrcy sLEHdge.")
Brooklyn Bridge#
Restless Heart#
Streets of Brooklyn#
Night Has Fallen#
Weight of the World#
Hey Bulldog#%
You Never Give Me Your Money#%
Sun King#%
Mean Mr. Mustard#%
Polythene Pam#%
She Came In Through The Bathroom Window#%
Golden Slumbers#%
Carry That Weight#%
The End#%

Winter War Games#

# w/ Joe Russo on 2nd drum kit
% w/ Dave Dreiwitz (Ween) on 2nd bass & Ryan Thornton on percussion

DOWNLOAD THE SHOW! Thanks to Salvo!

Marc Whitman over at posted some video in his review, so you can check that out too. Though I'll warn you right now, he doesn't seem to use the word "fuck" nearly as often as I do. Brace yourself.


^ Let's just leave Jounce out of this, shall we?
^^ Gotta give wiggle room for flexibility.