Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Phish, The Jersey Tour: 5/31, 6/1, & 6/10/11

Phish: The Jersey Tour^
5/31 & 6/1/11, PNC Garden State Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ
6/10/11, Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden, NJ

TUESDAY, 5/31/11

Jersey. It's so much more than one word. It's traffic. It's swampland. It's peeeeeeople-- OH GOD, JERSEY IS PEEEEEOPLE.

I actually really like the (PNC) Garden State Arts Center as a venue. It's the first place I saw/heard God Street Wine and quite a sentimental favorite. I don't recall it ever being a particularly violent place, which is why I was so confused as to what all the State Troopers combing the parking lots could possibly be doing there. It's as if they were looking for something. We were able to play a few nice rounds of Spot-The-Narcs before taking the infamous walk from the far lot through the woods to get over to the venue. There was no way I was getting rid of my extra, so we headed right in and got situated on the Lawn.

The Po Po

"The Prophet"

After hearing the returns from Bethel, my expectations were pretty inflated and I'll be honest, I was kind of meh'd by this set. There were some fun moments in Roggae & Tube -> Divided Sky, but they just need to retire Rock and Roll already. It totally lost me... again. Maybe cuz it was still light out, but I wasn't as immediately sucked in by the music as I'd hoped to be. That said, it felt really nice to be hanging out with friends at a Summer Tour show.

During setbreak, I met up with a fantastic Greek and we headed down to the 9th row, Fish side. The view and sound were definitely an improvement. The show kind of kicked into action for me with -> Maze starring Page being a TOTAL FUCKING BADASS ANIMAL. Damn! Alaska was pretty super -> Let's Fuck With the Hippies, where they slowed down time, stopped it, reversed it. For a split second I got excited and thought they were going into Timber Ho, but alas... DAMN YOU, YEM!!!!!! Why must you mock me like this? This would technically qualify as my first YEM of 2011, but I know those boys are planning more and I clearly haven't gotten over the YEMs of 2009-2010. They're floating around out there just waiting to slap me repetitively with their non-Timber-Ho-ness. Totes cereal, would it kill them to play Uncle Penn or Nellie Kane?

This is what happens when you meet people at the Carvel.

9th rowage

Trey rockin' out to Mike's solo in YEM.

The Fire encore was pretty rocking and totally eery, cuz earlier in the day a Lot Wook had predicted not only this, but also the Chalk Dust opener. During post-show discussions, Melissa would dub him "The Prophet". WEEEEIRD.

meh. 9th row was fun, though.

Tuesday, 05/31/2011
PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ
Set 1: Chalk Dust Torture, Roggae > Punch You In the Eye, The Moma
Dance > Rock and Roll, Sand, Tube > The Divided Sky, Character Zero
Set 2: After Midnight > Possum, Drowned > Maze, Dirt, Alaska, You
Enjoy Myself
Encore: Fire

(All setlists courtesy of phish.net)


Wednesday started off with a Jersey State-wide NWS Tornado Warning until 8PM. Thank you, Climate Change. With full rain gear packed, I hit the crowded Parkway and hoped for the best. According to my car, it was 95 degrees F in the Oranges. The skies were conflicted. There were some nasty isolated storm cells heading in our general direction and I at least wanted to beat them to Holmdel. Which I did. And just a few minutes after pouring some classy tequila into an even classier Red Solo cup, the first downpour began. Luckily, I had AC, the Yanks game, and aforementioned tequila to keep me occupied while it passed. As the skies cleared, I also got to watch some uniformed Police hop out of a silver minivan with tinted windows (& a Yin Yang sticker on the back--- ohh, ha ha FOOLED YOU!) and proceed to bust some kids 2 cars over. Here we go!

After the first downpour, the temp dropped 13 degrees.

Pregame was an energized multi-gathering of epic proportions smattered with chocolate cookies, more tequila, and at least 1 more downpour. Next thing I knew, El Herno was speeding past us in the parking lot screaming wildly about taking a shortcut through a HS Track Meet. He also told the tale of a magically skilled deer who successfully jumped on/off two car hoods in moving traffic in order to cross a road, only to disappear back into the woods. Obviously, a part of the Deer Track Meet. El Herno believed it was a sign The Phish would play The Antelope.

Hern's Magical Deer Path Map

The show opened with First Tube and it already felt better than the previous night. Camel Walk is always a plus. Axilla wasn't loud enough (on the Lawn) -> an enjoyable Split Open & Melt.

Set II started with Tweezer and the last storm cell I'd be tracking on my robot finally arrived. Lightning flashed, the skies opened up, and it was as good a time as any to get into the Pavilion. Now, I'm not sure if it was the best decision-- but it was still kinda fun, even after all these years. The mad rush resulted in a couple thousand extra people now crowding every free inch of the Pav. Then Phish started Led Zeppelin's No Quarter and the place erupted in excitement. It was super dark and moody with Page on lead vocals. Brilliant sound after the rain. Carini continued the dark rock fun. Great combo.

Everything after that kind of blended together for me. There might have been some good stuff happening in Backwards Down the Number Line, but I spent that entire song watching some Tweaker try to take on Security. It was a bizarre scene, oddly quiet, kind of in slow motion. Almost anticlimactic, because dude ended up being pinned down by his limbs and head against the concrete stairs, surrounded by 10+ security guys (ranging in age from 18-80), but it lasted more than 5 fucking minutes. Like at least tase the dude or dart gun him and kick him in the nuts-- make it interesting! But noooo, they just pinned the guy down for 5 minutes before eventually carrying him off with absolutely no blood shed. YAWNSVILLES.

The Situation (pic courtesy of Weiss)

Definitely enjoyed this show more than the previous night, except for my sweet location in the 9th row. Still, was expecting to be more wowed than I was-- at least by Phish. Dropping off a car full of Handsome at Secaucus Junction was pretty wow-tastic.

Wednesday, 06/01/2011
PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ
Set 1: First Tube, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Camel Walk,
Heavy Things, Gotta Jibboo, Wilson > Seven Below > Kill Devil Falls,
Axilla > Split Open and Melt, Suzy Greenberg
Set 2: Tweezer > No Quarter[1], Carini[2] > Piper > Twist > Ghost[3] >
Backwards Down the Number Line[3]
Encore: Show of Life > Tweezer Reprise

[1] Phish debut.
[2] Unfinished.
[3] No Quarter teases from Trey.

FRIDAY, 6/10/11

Long week. Weddings, funerals, not gonna get into it. Despite my general meh-ness over Holmdel, friends were insisting I make the trek to Camden. They swore the show would be worth it and I had a nagging feeling they were correct. Though I might have mentioned a scene similar to Carrie if I heard YEM again. Except with Trey... and pee.

Camden, NJ. I have never before voluntarily traveled to Camden, NJ. Who does? But a Cortisone shot to the knee 72 hours earlier had me feeling stupid, confident, and lucky. Not sure if a Phish show qualified as "limited activity", but tequila would surely keep things on the level. A dead Stinkbug on the floor of the Ladies Room in the hotel we used as a carpool Park & Ride would serve as my Official Welcome to South Jersey. Welcome To South Jersey!

After a fantastic Wino pregame -> missing a turn and almost ending up in Philly, we instead wound up in the heart of Downtown Camden (which is worse?). At this moment I was happy that Weiss looks like a Narc. We survived the Scenic Route and eventually pulled into Lot 2, right across from the Susquehanna Bank Center. There was a definitely a strong Police presence--- perched Mobile Units and at least one HeliCopter overhead, but that could very well be Business As Usual in Camden. This still somehow seemed less oppressive than Holmdel. They looked bored with all of our non-stabbing-eachother-ness (wait til Fall Tour!).

The Po Po ask our neighbors to take down the EZ-Up.

People watching in the lot: Disco Johnny needs a boombox to pee. (pic courtesy of Weiss)

Lot Ginger.

Danny Freeballs

The Gabbagool Bros.


Meth Thom Yorke in Parachute Pants (pic courtesy of Weiss)

After a Panamanian drug mule style search at the Page side front gate, I was finally able to check out the venue. The view of Philly across the river is pretty fucking beautiful. There's a neato Battleship right over the fence. And the venue not only has a full bar-- but also a frozen margarita & daiquiri stand that uses actual tequila & rum (as opposed to Malt Liquor)! That is fantastic!

The Lawn was pretty cool (just as I'd heard). The pitch was not as steep as some other venues and we had a pretty great view of the stage from the spacious back on Fish side. Annnnd, once the show started, the sound was actually awesome back there. Totes chill. Didn't have to fight the crowd and the quality of the show was not sacrificed in the least. Sweeeet.

J. Wook?

Oh and they opened with ROCKY TOP, which was AWESOME, because ROCKY TOP IS AWESOME. What followed was a fucking stellar set I. Mikes > Hydrogen > Weekapaug got the place moving. A beautiful Stash. Top notch Guelah > Scent of a Mule. This was the Mike show! Awesome Scent. Fun Cavern. Then a dirty awesome Slothsome. And gorgeous Curtain. GREAT set. Yes.

I briefly tried to find people during setbreak, but just didn't have the capacity to continue such a Quest. What was more my speed at that moment, was seeing with my own two eyes that they do indeed sell cups of melted cheese for $2. You know, to dip your balls in.

DWD was hoppin'. Free rhymes with pee, but Mike managed to have a lot of fun with it, which made it interesting to me for the first time in a looong time, so that was nice. Possum was pretty rockin'. BBFCFM was excellent and featured Trey's mic waaaay taller than him, facing downwards, and Mike sitting on the ground with his mic facing downwards, above his head-- so they could both scream the words more chillingly. They were having a lot of fun--- which was pretty much the vibe of the whole show-- tons of fun happening onstage. Laughter, light-heartedness, cute, etc... Swept Away > Steep, slowed things down a bit. David Bowie was large. Julius was pretty fun, but at that moment, these two frat boys decided to stand really close to us and shout every word at the back of our heads. Huh. I had to move. Ew. Golgi > Fluffhead was good, but > Joy kind of depresses me and almost seemed like a letdown after such a solid show. It sort of felt like THIS. Bold As Love was a sweet Encore, but about halfway through we got a Jaded Old Skooler head start to the car.

Absolutely brilliant and beautiful lights all night-- Chris Kuroda on FIYAH!!!

Traffic out of Camden blew, but you really can't blame everyone for trying to leave at once, yah? Luckily, we had cookies to bide the time.

My Jersey Tour started out meh but ended strong. It was great to hang out with friends on Summer Tour. I'm happy they convinced me to hit Camden too. Definitely worth the trek. After the Holmdel shows I was kind of down on the band, but Camden reminded me why I go see The Phish. The setlist was scattered but that's what made it strong. I got to hear things I don't hear ALL THE FUCKING TIME AT EVERY SHOW I SEE. That makes me happy. No pee was flung, at least by me. Meth Thom Yorke however, probably can't say the same.

The Phish, 5/31, 6/1, & 6/10/11, All Spots Jersey: 8 HUZZAHS!

Friday, 06/10/2011
Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden, NJ
Soundcheck: Halfway to the Moon
Set 1: Rocky Top, Mike's Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Stash, Tube > Guyute, Guelah Papyrus > Scent of a Mule, Cavern, The Sloth, The Curtain With
Set 2: Down with Disease, Free, Possum, Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, Swept Away > Steep, David Bowie, Julius, Golgi Apparatus > Fluffhead > Joy
Encore: Bold As Love

Notes: Trey teased the Theme from Rocky before Rocky Top and Pop Goes the Weasel before Down With Disease.




^ "The Jersey Tour", Copyright, Michael Weiss, 2011

Saturday, June 4, 2011

American Babies / J. Roddy Walston & the Business, 5/30/11, Brooklyn Bowl, NYC

American Babies / J. Roddy Walston & the Business,
5/30/11, Brooklyn Bowl, NYC

My friend Mark is sick of reading about American Babies. In fact, we spoke before this show-- I had to assure him that I wouldn't review it. And I really wasn't going to... but they were just SO FUCKING TIGHT, and their set sounded SO SWEET, I at least had to report that and share some fun pics of them rockin' out. I freakin' love this band.

Dance All Night, Streets of Brooklyn, Desperate Times, Want A Girl, Baby Don't Cry, Invite Your Friends, You Really Got a Hold On Me, Rocker, Telephone, Joeline, Winter War Games

Headliner J. Roddy Walston & the Business, were finishing up their month-long residency at Brooklyn Bowl and had a pretty solid turnout for any Monday night, let alone a Memorial Day Monday night. J. Roddy Walston (lead-singer, keys, & guitar) is clearly the Love Child of Gregg Allman and Leonardo DiCaprio, who apparently hired Jerry Lee Lewis as their Nanny. They played straight-up fun Southern Roots meets Green Day-ish Rock n' Roll and the room was stomping (or maybe it was just that one dude totally losing his shit directly in back of me.).

Earlier in the night, I was chatting music with a Totes Hipster who told me "I hate jambands" and partially because I enjoyed watching his skin crawl at the mere mention of the word "jamband", I asked him what "exactly" it was about "jambands" that he hated? He went on about noodling that goes nowhere, blah blah blah... To be honest, I kind of lost my attention span and tuned out after that, but I did prescribe to him some: moe. (he'd never heard of them). "moe. play Rock n' Roll. It's more Primus than Phish. The jams have purpose and a destination. Wow, you look disgusted at the thought. No, seriously-- you should really go see them." (insert Hipster Eye Roll here) Ha ha Hipsters.

via David Lowery's Facebook page:
dressing room graffiti at the Redstone Room, Davenport, IA

I got to bowl with the Babies, which is a statement I will be using out of context for my own amusement in the future. It also reminds me of one of my favorite jokes:
Q: What's the difference between unloading a truckload of bowling balls and unloading a truckload of dead babies?
A: You can use a pitchfork on the dead babies.
Yes, a bowling ball joke! Hey Mark, aren't you glad I reviewed this show?

Awesome show, super fun night, frozen strawberry margaritas! MAD HUZZAHS!!!

Tom Hamilton teaches a Challenged girl how to bowl. He's a Saint.

Dave Butler's gnarly gash.

Adam Flicker says, "Dave fell down the stairs."