As a music journalist for a decade and a half, I see a lot of live music. But every once in a while, I catch a concert that gives me a special feeling of knowing that I have seen music history and something sonically special. This was one of those moments. A few years ago here, it was Lana Del Rey who captivated her sold out show. This summer, it was her male musical soul mate Father John Misty.
In the last decade, one the North Bay Area and wine country’s premier venues has become Weill Hall at Sonoma State University. Housed in the Green Music Center, this indoor/outdoor hybrid venue space is one of a kind. The theater has stunning wooden seats and a double-tiered balcony, while the outdoor lawn seating is ideal for year long daytime and nighttime shows. Despite its sizeable capacity, it feels homey and intimate with projector screens displaying multi-shot coverage of the stage up-close.
This past Saturday at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheater, Nederland’s own Yonder Mountain String Band and longtime jam legends Gov’t Mule co-headlined an action-packed show filled with sit-ins, surprises and an incredible all-star tribute to the late great Gregg Allman. It was the first time in over ten years that Yonder and Gov’t Mule have teamed up for a show. The Marcus King Band also joined in on the festivities, as members of all three bands sat in with one another throughout their respective sets.
There’s always been something mythical about Fleet Foxes’ music; those intricate harmonies and swelling arrangements intertwined with frontman Robin Pecknold’s often-lofty poetry convey intimacy while conjuring up Homeric images of cloudy mountain forests, stormy seas, and some connection to the spirit of the earth long-since forgotten. As such, there’s a risk when bringing their music to the stage that something will get lost in translation.
It was already going to be an unusual evening in Hollywood which is saying something in a town known for its strange excesses especially in the entertainment world. Sufjan Stevens was set to play his new exotic album Planetarium as part of the summer evening concert series at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The series features esoteric artists out of the mainstream of typical pop music.
It’s hard to believe that two years have passed since the gargantuan Grateful Dead: Fare Thee Well five-show run in Santa Clara, California, and Chicago, Illinois. The surviving core four members of Grateful Dead were joined by Bruce Hornsby, Trey Anastasio and Jeff Chimenti for stadium shows that gathered tens of millions in profit and more importantly enduring memories for fans and the band.
It’s bewildering how many devoted fans are out there of late guitar and American music icon Jerry Garcia that never saw him play a single show. Yet they know all about the live music of Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia Band. They can explore the evolutions and changes in form, structure, and exploration. This is of course due to the tireless efforts of band insider sound technicians and the extended taper culture that surrounded.