Normally, being in or around my state’s capital during the precipice of such a divided political event is something I never thought I would do... Taking such great strides out of my comfort zone for the sole purpose of watching a billionaire open for classic rock legend Don Henley, is another, very uncharacteristic decision. However, with the damned awfulness of 2016, I’m taking new strides into uncharted territory in 2017.
What an honor it was to see one of my favorite bands in one of my very favorite cities, and with some of my very favorite people. This year I traveled my way three hours to Chicago by car then by train to get to the Aragon Ballroom on December 30th, 2016 to see one my favorite bands of all time Umphrey’s McGee.
Let me just say, “Dr. Feel Good’s Traveling Medicine Show” by Great American Taxi sounds just like what I would expect from such a band performing an album with such a name. This is not to say that the album is bad or bland—very far from it—but that this is a “feel good” show that brings together the best elements of what a traveling show might be. And it’s quite the adventure.
There is something undeniably appealing about music that evokes the desert landscapes of the American West. The imagery of sun-soaked plains of dust beneath a never ending blue sky has pulled at my heartstrings since I first heard the Dead’s “Jack Straw.” This landscape has had a clear influence on psychedelic and improvisational music, and provides the inspiration for BIG Something’s fourth album, Tumbleweed. The album is a sonic desert trip, which uses the barren landscapes as a canvas for an introspective journey.
The reclusive former member of the Indie music duo Civil Wars, John Paul White has come out of the shadows to perform songs from his new solo album, Beulah. After a short tour, last summer, he is following up with a 15-date tour of the across the United States and England. The tour included a very special stop at the legendary Troubadour club in West Hollywood, on January 11.
Sound Tribe Sector Nine has been a uniquely special force in the music world for many years now. Their evolution as musicians has been as other worldly as the content of their music. Like any true long lasting band, evolution is necessary for longevity. Innovation has been at their forefront for two decades. Their energy and creativity is what brings loyal fans back to see them time and time again. As we made another revolution around the sun, we are presented with a new year to celebrate change and growth.
Jazz is thriving elsewhere besides its living alumnus of prestigious inheritors from the classic eras. Much has evolved since the groundbreaking free jazz of the 1950s and 1960s from the likes of Pharaoh Sanders, John Coltrane, and Ornette Coleman. As some have satirically put it, ornithology or: the study of Bird (Charlie Parker that is) lives on within the experimental giants of our generation.
2016 was a year that much of the country would like to do over. Between deaths, elections and Kanye West, it was year of unremarkable lows. However, for Chicago, IL, 2016 was granted a hassle-free All Access Pass when the Chicago Cubs, the beloved baseball team from the North Side, broke a 108-year drought and won the World Series.
Up and coming electronic duo, Phantoms, brought the party (and the Jameson) to the San Francisco Bay Area.
On what was a rather warm evening, and I mean really quite warm for 9 o’clock on a day in mid-November, Phantoms returned to the city of San Francisco with their ever-so-catchy electronic synth beats and dark pop melodies.
Keller Williams is a genre-fusing multi-instrumentalist and vocalist best known for his eclectic one-man-band performances. Williams’ live shows are delightful showcases of musicianship, as Keller employs loop pedals and multiple instruments to provide the audience with an experience not unlike the interplay of a full band. This approach has made Williams a perfect fit for collaboration with an impressive variety of artists from different genres, including The String Cheese Incident and Yonder Mountain String Band.