A grand celebratory sendoff to the 50th anniversary of San Francisco’s psychedelic music scene of 1967 took place at one of its once and forever epicenters, The Fillmore, on December 9. Featuring about 30 prominent Bay Area performers of today and yesterday, the commemorative event righteously celebrated that important stretch of time through which poetry, rock ‘n’ roll, cross-cultural awareness, and an anti-establishment penchant to question authority challenged traditional America’s consciousness.
It was a spare crowd that greeted the band when they took the stage to play “Shakedown Street” but it grew pretty quickly. It seemed to me that a hundred people even on the last day of November was a fairly low turnout. Ashland is invariably a “slow show” crowd and soon afterward there was at least a couple hundred. They were treated to a show that was also a slow burner.
While the multi-talented Karl Denson has been known to structure his Tiny Universe performances as an opportunity to pay homage to an impressively diverse array of artists, nothing prepared his devoted fans for the announcement of an Allman Brothers Band tribute. When the boisterous bandleader isn’t on the road with the Rolling Stones as their full-time saxophonist, or continually collaborating with Phil Lesh & Friends, he’s primarily focused on his accomplished solo-career.
The tenth date into their fall tour, Dead and Company played to a full house in Detroit at the newly opened Little Caesars Arena. The audiences were both longtime deadheads, and interestingly new fans that have come as a result of being John Mayer fans. Or simply new fans getting tuned in to the Dead only recently.
Jam Veteran Melvin Seals is generally acknowledged as the keeper of the flame for continuing the music of Jerry Garcia Band. The organist/keyboardist met Garcia thru his friend Merl Saunders in the early 1980s. Garcia was struck not only by Seals sheer talent and soul but that he was separate from the whole Grateful Dead world. In fact, as a man of the church, he was only marginally familiar with the Dead and Garcia.
Just in time for Record Store Day on November 22nd, a truly under-sung live masterpiece is to be re-released. Many fans know of Jerry Garcia & Howard Wales 1970 memorizing fusion studio album Hooteroll?, which was notable (aside from the inspired flowing free-jazz) as Garcia’s first studio recording outside of the Grateful Dead since the band’s inception. Indeed Garcia saw something remarkable about Wales playing.
It’s a cold and overcast Friday night in Asheville, NC but my spirits are anything other than soggy. I have been looking forward to this night for some time now, as The Campfire Caravan of The Lil' Smokies, The Brothers Comatose, and MIPSO rolls through Asheville’s premier club-venue The Orange Peel.
Fans anxiously awaited Alison Moyet’s appearance as soon as the house lights dimmed and the stage lights formed iridescent shadows across the spacious Palladium, while the spoken word, ‘April 4th from the recently released ‘Other’ echoed. When the star did appear, dressed simply, but elegantly, greeted by hoots and major applause, she stood silently for a moment, as if in awe of her surroundings.
It was a different Lone Bellow that pulled into Boston on Wednesday night, for their first show in the city in two years. When they first broke on the scene some five years ago, The Lone Bellow’s live shows were marked by an irrepressible energy, as if they couldn’t believe they’d hit the big time and were determined to rock the rafters at every gig.
With four years alongside one another on the road and in the studio, Hard Working Americans embody the grit, grind and salt of the earth vibe their name implies. Some call them a super group. I call them the sum of their parts, and hot damn do those parts work well together.