Friday, January 30, 2009

?uestlove + N.Y.C.

In a move much like Marco Benevento's, Roots drummer ?uestlove will host a weekly residency at (Le) Poission Rouge in New York City. The highly anticipated weekly show will feature a slew of guest musicians in what is sure to be quite the musical adventure. The Roots have also landed the house band gig for Jimmy Fallon's new late night talk show which will also take place in New York City.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Umphrey's McGee - Mantis

Utilizing a new method of musical distribution in this day and age is almost as important as the music itself. Although Mantis was not given away via the Internet, a fair share unreleased live tracks sure were. Using "push" technology, Umphrey's stressed to its fans that more and material would be unlocked on the album as more and more pre-orders were made. That being said, the music on the album is also worth mentioning. Mantis is beyond strong. In fact, its damn near perfect. The first thing worth mentioning about the album is the heavy usage of stringed instruments. As if Umphrey's tunes weren't epic enough, the strings create an almost cinematic feel to the brand new tracks. "Cemetery Walk" is characterized by Brendan Bayliss' punchy lyrical phrasing and is accentuated by Cinniger's underlying, harmonizing guitar lines. "Cemetery Walk II" which builds off its rock and roll brother's piano work is certainly a new direction for the band. This track is pure techno fun. Its drum track is heavily danceable, proving that Umphrey's can easily upstage a genre ruled by tools on their MacBooks. Big surprise there. "Turn & Run" could easily be the highlight of the album. The crisp acoustic guitar intro is quickly followed by the classic prog-rock tone that has made Umphrey's so recognizable. What makes this song so special is Cinninger's epic guitar solo which closes out the last 2 minutes of the track. To be blunt, he rips the shit out of it like only a true guitar god can. Mantis' opening track "Made to Measure" is definitely the radio hit of the album. The comparison has been made in every review on the interweb, but it sounds like a lost Beatles b-side in the best way possible. Mantis is a fantastic release that is sure to please hardcore fans who will rage Umph until the end. "Made To Measure" alone will create new fans who are in for some serious musical enlightenment upon listening to the whole album. How will these songs transfer over live? Only time will tell, but knowing Umphrey's McGee, were sure to find out much sooner than later.

Check out the live debut of Made To Measure (not the best quality, but buy the cd if you want pristine!)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wale to Work with TV On The Radio

Wale, one of my personal favourite hip hop artists, has enlisted the indie rock group TV On The Radio, famous for their 2008 album "Dear Science" as collaborators on his up coming album. Wale's last mixtape, "The Mixtape About Nothing" cleverly employed samples from the famous tv sitcom "Seinfeld", making it one of the most memorable mixtapes to date. Wale's up coming album is also rumoured to feature a collaboration with French DJ duo Justice. Wale's famous remix of D.A.N.C.E. is infamous amongst the underground hip hop world and music bloggers alike. Big things are expected of Wale's album, let's hope he can deliver!

Check out W.A.L.E.D.A.N.C.E. for a prime tast of Wale in action

Monday, January 26, 2009

Radiohead To Play At The Grammys

This year, Radiohead will share the stage with such acts as Paul McCartney, Jay-Z and Kanye West. This will be Radiohead's first Grammy performance, and 3rd nomination for Album of the Year.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Festival Season

Winters in Canada are cold and grey. The night sets in at about 4:30 in the afternoon and more often than not, you're waking up to a snow storm. There is an upside to the winter however, and its slowly starting to peak its head. Festival season is being announced!

Mountain Jam will be taking place from May 29-31 this year with an incredible initial lineup:

Although the lineup isn't very diverse, it is most certainly solid.

The 10,000 Lakes Festival will be taking place from July 22-25 and the headliners are huge. Dave Matthews Band, Wilco and Widespread Panic will be the forefront of the festival. The rest of the lineup so far is:Umphrey's McGee, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Railroad Earth,Tea Leaf Green (2 nights), Junior Brown, WookieFoot
Trampled By Turtles, Cloud Cult, Everyone Orchestra, Kathleen Edwards, Pretty Lights
BoomBox, William Elliott Whitmore, My Dear Disco, Kinetix, The Macpodz, The Ragbirds
Enchanted Ape

I know that everyone (including myself) are eagerly awaiting the Bonnaroo and Rothbury lineups which I assume will be announced soon. Let it be known that Phish has added another date to their tour. The boys will be playing Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tenessee on June 10. Suspiciously close to Bonnaroo no? I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Dark Side of the Internet & The Music Industry

As we are all aware, of the music industry today is dominated by the internet and more importantly by the illegal downloaders who choose to take advantage of it. At an industry gathering in Cannes, France, the issue of pirated music was thoroughly discusses. The obvious conclusions were drawn; the music industry is being kicked to shit by those of us who choose to steal music. The only way for the industry to survive, embrace the dark side. Ted Cohen who helps host the MidemNet conference that took place wisely stated, "consumers will only move to legal sites from illegal ones if the proposition is better and easier to use". On that note, here comes Research in Motion who is looking to institute music applications like Shazam and Pandora, both of which help subscribers discover music for free, with the hope that they will buy the song or maybe even the full album. While apps like Pandora are all fine and good, they ultimately do not solve the problem of musical theft. In my humble opinion, the elimination of musical theft will never be halted to any large extent, and as a result, the music market will continue to drop in years come. Bands are smart however. Many new artists have been discovered via YouTube through the posting of homemade recordings. Blogs of course have also helped the cause of up-and-coming bands, point in case, the Fleet Foxes who rose to critical fame in 2008 and recently played SNL. What's important here is to note that in order to save the music industry, we must turn on to a new idea of what the music industry is. All former memories of the music industry must be eliminated. A complete overhaul needs to be seen, and right now there isn't necessarily a blue print which will suffice. Looting of music will never mean the demise of music, but it most certainly will mean a life of hardship for aspiring bands who may or may not recieve the critical praise they so deserve.
Those so readily stealing music from the internet do have a certain responsibility however. It is up to them to spread the word of the album they stole, whether it was good or bad. They need to blog about it, send out email's to their friends and co-workers alike. If the past has taught us anything, it is that word of mouth is effective. The best restaurants barely ever advertise, and the best unknown bands will likely not have the means to advertise. So take it upon yourselves to help promote a band you love, go see them live, buy a t-shirt, hell maybe even buy their cd if you can afford to. The music industry as we know it is on the out and out, but that doesn't mean a new one isn't far off, and let's all help draw the blueprint together.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Led Zeppelin Put to Rest

All the Led Zeppelin talk will finally be laid to rest, for the next little while at least. Jimmy Page's manager Peter Mensch publicly stated "Led Zeppelin are over. If you didn't see them in 2007 [at the London O2 Arena], you missed them. It's done. I can't be any clearer than that." It's safe to say this is a good thing. Let's let Zep keep their glory and not soil their good name with a potentially shitty tour.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Phish 2009 Tour Dates

Finally the wait is over. Phish has announced 12 additional tour dates across the U.S. (and will hopefully confirm Bonnaroo soon). Between The Dead and Phish, it's a hippies dream come true this summer.

03.06.09 Hampton Coliseum Hampton, VA
03.07.09 Hampton Coliseum Hampton, VA
03.08.09 Hampton Coliseum Hampton, VA
6.04.09 Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, Wantagh, NY
6.05.09 Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, Wantagh, NY
6.06.09 Comcast Center, Mansfield, MA
6.07.09 Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden, NJ
6.09.09 Asheville Civic Center, Asheville, NC
06.12-14 (Unconfirmed, but rumored to play Bonnaroo)
6.16.09 Fox Theatre, St. Louis, MO
6.18.09 Post Gazette Pavilion, Burgettstown, PA
6.19.09 Verizon Wireless Music Center, Noblesville, IN
6.20.09 Alpine Valley Music Theater, East Troy, WI
6.21.09 Alpine Valley Music Theater, East Troy, WI

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Led Zeppelin to Tour & Record Without Robert Plant

Led Zeppelin, if you even dare call them that without Mr. Robert Plant singing lead vocals, plan on touring and recording without the golden locked lyrical god. I personally think this is a terrible idea, at least with the name Led Zeppelin attached to it. Touring without your lead singer, not to mention one of the greatest rock and roll singers of all time is simply rediculous. The band will appear to be nothing but a nastalgia act, a cover band really. By all means tour and play your hearts out, but take on a new name!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Dead to Tour in 2009

Well it's official! The Dead will tour for the first time in over four years. The lineup will consist of Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Warren Haynes and Jeff Chimenti.

April 12 Greensboro NC Greensboro Coliseum
April 14 Washington DC Verizon Center
April 15 Charlottesville VA John Paul Jones Arena
April 17 Albany NY Times Union Center
April 18 Worcester MA DCU Center
April 19 Worcester MA DCU Center
April 21 Buffalo NY HSBC Arena
April 22 Wilkes-Barre PA Wachovia Arena @ Casey Plaza
April 24 Uniondale NY Nassau Coliseum
April 25 New York NY Madison Square Garden
April 26 Hartford CT XL Center
April 28 E. Rutherford NJ IZOD Center
April 29 E. Rutherford NJ IZOD Center
May 1 Philadelphia PA Wachovia Spectrum
May 2 Philadelphia PA Wachovia Spectrum
May 5 Chicago IL All State Arena
May 7 Denver CO Pepsi Center
May 9 Los Angeles CA The Forum
May 10 Mountain View CA Shoreline Amphitheater

Friday, January 2, 2009

Surprise Me Mr. Davis & The Benevento Russo Duo: B.B. King's New Year's Eve 2008

After the My Morning Jacket show I strolled over to Times Square to catch Surprise Me Mr. Davis & The Benevento Russo Duo's late night show. The marquee read "The Slip & The Duo" so I was unsure who would actually be playing. I thought maybe that Nathan Moore (lead vocals, guitar) had gotten sick and perhaps it would be The Slip performing. I also thought that perhaps B.B.King's just had the wrong info to begin with. Either way I was absolutely pumped to see both bands for the first time. The show began at 2am with The Duo taking the stage first. They opened with "Echo Park" and instead of playing a full set, they immeditately left the stage while SMMD rushed on and delivered a high octane version of "Everything Must Go".
It turns out that Nathan would be playing, and he was in fine form as always. To my surprise, Davis rushed off the stage and The Duo ran back on to play another track. This may have been the plan for the rest of the night, but sooner than later different incarnations of both bands were taking form. First Brad and Marc stayed on and played with the Duo. Then Marco would stay and play keys on a Davis track. Next thing I knew every member of both band's were playing on stage. The 6 headed monster which now resembled the Grateful Dead with two guitarists, keyboards, two drummers, bass, and keys remained on stage for the rest of the rest of the night. "Sissyfuss" was the first tune to feature everyone at once and it was nice to hear a version featuring the fancy keywork of Marco Benevento. Unlike other SMMD shows, this one featured lots of jamming, more akin to the work of The Slip & The Duo. Brad really stood out as the superstar of the night. His guitar playing was inventive and his singing was on for the entirety of the night. "I Hate Love" was a standout of the night. The crowd got to sing a long and Brad even teased some of "Eube" in the intro guitar licks. Both bands left the stage at 4:30am but nobody wanted to believe the show was over. After what felt like forever (really 10minutes later) the 6 musicians piled back on stage for a lengthly encore. A big jam session was held that featured a new Marco/Marc composition that segued into an old often played The Slip cover but first time for Davis & The Duo, "Stand By Me". The show ended at 5:15am with Nathan and Brad singing "What A Wonderful World". It was cut short by Nathan who proudly claimed he was way to drunk to keep going. The concert was epic to say the least and totally outshown My Morning Jacket.
Both of these groups have paid their dues over the years, and hopefully 2009 will be a stand out year for Surprise Me Mr. Davis. Although it would be bittersweet to see them playing venues such as Madison Square Garden, no band deserves it more.

Here's SMMD & The Duo playing I Hate Love, Stand By Me and a jam (all of which I shot from front row center!):

Set List:
Disc 1
Set I
1. Echo Park >
2. Everything Must Go >
3. Play Pause Stop >
4. When A Woman >
5. Becky
6. Sissyfuss
7. Best Reason To Buy The Sun
8. Sunny's Song
9. I Want To Get To Heaven Before I Die
10. beluga banter
11. Roses & Bottles

Disc 2
Set I (continued)
1. The Real World
2. jam > Something For Rockets
3. Circus Cats
4. Smells Like Teen Spirit >
5. I Hate Love
6. Summer of My Fall >
7. Poor Boy
8. Big Whopper >
9. Fat King Of Gods
10. 19th Nervous Breakdown
11. encore break

Disc 3
Encore 1:
1. Last One Ever
Encore 2:
2. (cuts in) new Marc & Marco Tune >
3. Stand By Me >
4. super bad jam >
5. jam >
6. Money Money Money
7. What A Wonderful World

My Morning Jacket: New Year's Eve at Madison Square Garden

The last time I saw My Morning Jacket was at the Kool Haus (2,000 person capacity) in my hometown of Toronto Ontario. I knew this would be the last time seeing MMJ at such an intimate venue. Oh yah, did I mention that this was in June of 2008? Only 6months later I would be in New York City seeing them at would appeared to be an almost sold out Garden. Many a fan came dressed in their New Year's finest and so did the band. Rumours of guest artists were circulating the internet and this proved true. They opened with Curtis Mayfield's "Move On Up", the first song to feature the New Year's Eve horn section that included Jeff Coffin (Bela Fleck & The Flecktones and now Dave Matthews Band) as well as Steve Bernstein (Sex Mob and Levon Helm). For most bands the Mayfield classic would be an ambitious choice, but it was sung to perfection by Jim James. This set the tone for the rest of the evening's sets which were sprinkled with classic funk and soul covers. MMJ leaned heavily on tunes from 2008's Evil Urges as well as songs from , but the band did treat us to a few older gems such as the rarely played "Cobra". The band brought out Nicole Atkin's for Marvin Gaye's classic "You're All I Need" which was a crowd favourite. After a 30 minute intermission which featured a video clip from Charlie Chaplin's anti-Nazi film The Great Dictator, the band ripped into Kool & The Gang's "Celebration" while thousands of white balloons were dumped from the ceiling of MSG. The 3.5 hour show ended with the classic "One Big Holiday" and a poorly practiced version "Auld Lang Syne". Maybe James had one too many drinks. Although the show itself was perfectly played, with the exception of the cover tunes, the setlist barely varied from the show I saw earlier in the year. The Garden also lacked the intimacy of the Kool Haus which was obviously expected but a drag none the less. 2008 proved to be a huge year for the Jacket, and this is one band that truly deserves the success that they have found.

Set List:
"Move On Up" (Curtis Mayfield) *
"Evil Urges" *
"Off the Record"
"The Way that He Sings"
"Thank You Too"
"I'm Amazed"
"Golden" (w/ Will Johnson)
"All I Need" (w/ Nicole Adkins / Marvin Gaye cover) *
"Express Yourself" * (Charles Wright)
"What a Wonderful Man" "Low Down"
"Phone Went West"
"Look at You"
"Smokin' From Shootin'"
"Touch Me I'm Going to Scream Part 2"
"Run Thru"
"I'm a Wanderer" (Dion cover) *
"Dancefloors" *

New Year's Intermission

"Celebration" (Kool and the Gang) *
"Get Down On It" (Kool and the Gang) *
"Wordless Chorus"
"Highly Suspicious"
"Islands in the Stream" (w/ Nicole Atkins / Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers)
"Bring it On Home to Me" (Sam Cooke) *
"Cold Sweat (James Brown) * "Anytime"
"One Big Holiday"
(* w/ New Year's Eve Horn Section)