Last summer Paul McCartney had to postpone his show in town because he was sick. The night he was scheduled to have played, a group of local musicians sang a bunch of his songs in a tribute show, (they'd all taken the night off anyway.) It was such fun that they decided to do a Lennon tribute show this past October, on what would have been his 74th birthday.
Last night this same group of musicians did a George Harrison show, almost but not quite on his birthday, (which fell a little too close to Mardi Gras this year.) It was a lovely show, right up this old Beatle fan's alley. Lots of good performances, but this was my favorite of the night.
That young whippersnapper, Mr. Tein, seems to be going to all the new music, while I only seem to go to tribute shows to ancient artists. So be it. I have no complaints.
Last Saturday, I went to the Old US Mint here in town, where they have a national park devoted to jazz music. Or maybe just to music. www.nps.gov/jazz/index.htm They have a lot of different shows there and last Saturday there was a free show devoted to the worship of Randy Newman. So, you know, I had to go. Once again the talented Debbie Davis stole the show, in my opinion, with this rendition of "Feels Like Home" - one of my very favorite RN tunes.
When you think progressive rock has died, along come a band who breathe a sweet collective soul into it. Let it Rock
his is a stunning example of when Prog gets it right. Glorious melodies and complex interplay of musicians and instruments, massive soundscapes and imagery that knocks you on your ass, all those things that can be so deadly dull when they aren’t done with the quality of playing and the sheer integrity that these four guys (cannot leave out Steve Rispin the engineer) bring to the music.
Members of Lifesigns feature: John Young (keys & vocals) Jon Poole (bass & vocals) Frosty Beedle (drums & perc) Niko Tsonev (guitars & vocals) Steve Rispin (engineering and production). Lifesigns recording features John, Frosty, Steve and the masterful Nick Beggs (bass, chapman stick & vocals) Guests: Steve Hackett (guitars) Jakko Jakszyk (guitars) Thijs Van Leer (flutes).
A Formal Horse is a new progressive rock quartet based in Southampton. Although the band's sound is difficult to pinpoint, their dense instrumental passages are reminiscent of King Crimson and Mahavishnu Orchestra, whilst Francesca Lewis' lead vocals evoke the whimsical surrealism of the 1970s’ Canterbury scene.
However, A Formal Horse go beyond simply regurgitating the music of their predecessors. With influences as diverse as Bartók and Bon Iver, the band prove that there is still much territory to be explored in the field of British progressive rock.
Steely Dan (in San Diego on Sunday night) is THE tightest band I've ever heard. They started out tight, and got tighter. "Babylon Sisters" was SO tight, you weren't aware of notes as much as all the spaces between the notes and their distinctive shapes. Like viewing MC Escher art from another perspective. I didn't know getting THAT tight was possible. A thing of beauty and awe, song and performance morphing to become transcendent, spiritual. Magical. Enlightening. Unforgettable.
Black Cow, Aja, Do It Again, Dirty Work, My Old School, Hey Nineteen, Pretzel Logic, Green Earrings, Reelin' In The Years & Kid Charlemagne each grooved like a MoFo, and were faithful - yet superior - to the records. I didn't expect that either.
Donald sang much stronger than I had expected, a little straining for a few high notes but still had that classic voice. Walter was strong on lead guitar also, although he noodled a bit toward the end (which didn't help "Peg".) The sound and balance were immaculate, as one would expect. And they were having a good time, being the last show of 3 in a row, and the last of this part of their tour. (They resume in 2 months with Elvis Costello.)
"Bodhisattva" was alarmingly fast yet unbelievably clean. "Show Biz Kids" and "Pretzel Logic" were altered and improved. "Black Friday" became a fast shuffle. Only "Peg" didn't quite gel, uneven rhythms and tempo. (Noticeable only because everything else was SO on.) And Walter should sing something easier than "Daddy Don't Live In That NYC No More." That was the only tune not in the original key, transposed to Bm from Em for him to 'sing.'
The rest of the material revealed that those old recordings are mere demos, being defined now in live performance. Wow.
Realistically, this is the last rock show I will probably ever go to. I mean, it was $200. (Courtesy of a friend.) And not a whiff of weed! It's been well over a decade since I've seen a band live, but THAT is certainly a first.
I'm going to see The Who tomorrow, along with about a half a dozen other assorted acts. With any luck they'll do A Quick One While He's Away"- I'm crossing everything I can to try and make that happen!