Twiddle and Formula 5 brought a sold out dance party to the Upstate Concert Hall last night, Friday, February 26. The Capital Region’s own Formula 5 opened the evening, playing an hour long set with the hometown crowd in the palm of their hand. New member Matt Richards’ keyboard playing fit in perfectly with the band’s sound. Barely stopping between songs, the set was sandwiched at beginning and end by “Earthbound Tim”. Teases of Phish and Twiddle got the crowd going.Formula 5 will play Saratoga’s Putnam Den later this month, followed by a residency in Vermont every Wednesday of March.Twiddle brought along The Frendly Horns for the evening, with the brass section really filling out the band’s sound. They tore through “Gatsby The Great” to start the evening off, never taking their foot off the gas pedal. A brief “Shakedown Street” tease had the crowd going wild in the already impressive “Brick of Barley”. The band is locked in right now and can slip into any sort of jam at the drop of a dime. Whether it’s full on classic rock, outer space craziness, or murky funk, Twiddle is on fire at the moment. Ending the evening with The Samples’ “Did You Ever Look So Nice?” with special guest Lowell Wurster of Lucid on washboard sent everyone home with a smiling face.Twiddle continues their Plumperdump Winter Tour tonight at Irving Plaza in New York City.Setlist: Twiddle at Upstate Concert Hall 2/26/16Gatsby the Great, Honeyburste, Brick of Barley*, Polluted Beauty, Classical Gas**, Be There, Complacent Race, FrankenfooteEncore” Did You Ever Look So Nice?*”Shakedown Street” tease**”X-Files Theme” teaseWords and Photos by Bryan Lasky. Full gallery at the bottom. Load remaining images
In the wake of Prince’s death, most everyone has shared an emotional tribute to the late great Purple One. This heartfelt reflection came to us by way of Jürgen Fauth, a novelist who most recently caught our attention by setting his latest murder mystery novel, Head Cases Vol I: The Ashakiran Tape, at a Phish concert. Fauth tells us what it means to be a Prince appreciator from the perspective of a Grateful Dead/Phish fan, sharing his personal story from the lens of an experienced writer. Enjoy Fauth’s tale below:One sweaty August night in 1997, Prince was strutting across the stage of the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson, segueing from “Purple Rain” into “Little Red Corvette,” and I felt like I was finally done with him.The massive ego commandeering the crowd’s attention, the constant exhortations demanding we get funky, the pandering medleys of number one hits that jumped breathlessly from chorus to chorus — this wasn’t what I wanted from live music anymore, it wasn’t my idea of a great show or a respectful performer. When Prince (or rather, at this point, The Artist) informed us from the lip of the stage that “this ain’t a sit-down party,” I wanted to shout back: “That’s for us to decide — you just play the music!” Once upon a time, Prince had meant the world to me. I was 15 when his Purple Reign began, and he had everything my sleepy German spa town home was missing: swagger, courage, wit, weirdness, psychedelia, pop, rock, funk, sex, and style. Prince was the essential liberating force of my adolescence and my first extended dive into obsessive fandom: collecting every 12″ version and MTV Europe video clip I could get my hands on, watching VHS tapes of Under the Cherry Moon and Sign o’ the Times on repeat while the unfolded LP cover of Parade leered from my wall like a sex-drenched joker. No party was complete without an extended workout of “It’s Gonna Be a Beautiful Night,” and precious teenage memories still cling to every line of every song. Long before I knew about the Grateful Dead’s taping scene or conceived of writing a detective novel about the hunt for a legendary Phish recording called The Ashakiran Tape, there was the glorious moment in 1988 when I held in my hands a bootleg tape of The Black Album — discovered in the bins of a sketchy record store in the Italian city state of San Marino.When I finally got to see him for the first time, in Mannheim in 1990, I was primed for a religious experience — and Prince delivered. I distinctly remember a moment during the second encore when the house lights came on and the room turned into a boundless dance party that just happened to have the most talented artist of his generation up on stage. It was the moment when I first felt the borders between audience and musician collapse, the potential of the live experience stretching out before me in all directions, expansive and joyful as the music, leaving the confines of song behind and funking on out towards infinity: This isn’t music, this is a trip.A few years later, I decamped to the US and, in my search for ever more adventurous live experiences, happened on a little band previously unknown to me called The Grateful Dead. In demeanor and attitude, the Dead were the diametrical opposite of Prince’s persona: instead of grand James-Brown-style entrances, they shambled on stage with their backs to the audience, tuned up for a bit, and then eased into a song without so much as looking up from their instruments. On most nights, leader Jerry Garcia was wearing a black t-shirt and sweatpants, and the sexiest thing on stage were Bob Weir’s knees below his cut-off jeans shorts. Nobody ever spoke into a microphone except to mumble something about setbreak. The Dead were all about getting the ego out of the way and letting the music soar on its own.From the first time I saw the Dead, in October 1994, it was apparent that Garcia was in ill health, and I latched on with the ferocity of someone who instinctively knew it was going to end soon. I caught the tail end of that trip, managing to squeeze in 13 shows before that last night in Chicago and Garcia’s death in 1995, at 53. I took it hard, flew to San Francisco and slept in Golden Gate Park for the memorial, certain I’d never again hear as sweet and loving a sound as Jerry’s explorative, lyrical guitar.A year later, I started seeing another band that had absorbed many of the Dead’s principles: not just the extended shows that drew from a huge repertoire and relied on streched-out improvisation, but also an essential humility before the mystery of the music. Even though Phish’s cocky, red-headed guitarist was as good as anyone I’d ever seen, he wasn’t the band’s focus, exactly. The songs mattered more than any one personality, and like a Dead show, the concerts were all about creating versions of that moment I had first tasted in Mannheim: the band and the audience, celebrating
Last night, host Jimmy Fallon welcomed actor Paul Rudd on The Tonight Show, as Rudd is promoting his new movie Captain America: Civil War. The two comical personalities took the opportunity to release a bizarre shot-by-shot remake of the music video for Styx’s 1981 hit single, “Too Much Time On My Hands.” Why they did it remains a mystery, but it’s particularly silly and thoroughly enjoyable.Watch “Too Much Time On My Hands” with Fallon and Rudd below:Naturally, we wanted to compare it with the original. It only makes the remake version that much more funny! Watch Styx’s video below:
Beloved group Dopapod returned to their hometown last weekend, playing three nights at The Sinclair in Cambridge, MA. The band has been on a tear as of late, with a handful of new songs under their belt and hopefully more to come.Among the many highlights of the three-night run was a surprise sit-in from Berklee College of Music professor Danny Morris, who joined Dopapod on bass for a cover of Frank Zappa’s 1974 hit, “Apostrophe.” The energy was through the roof for this power-packed celebration of Zappa, with the tight-knit Dopapod pulling the song off exceptionally well.Watch the “Apostrophe” performance below, courtesy of mk devo:Dopapod’s recent tour recordings have been posted on their Bandcamp, so you can keep up with the band’s live shows by heading here. Enjoy!
Beloved soul rockers The Nth Power has announced a lengthy summer tour schedule, kicking things off with an appearance at Summer Camp Music Festival before traveling around the country. The emphatic performers recently floored us with their Earth Wind & Power tribute show in New Orleans last week, and the group never fails to perform with gusto.Watch The 25-Minute Finale From The Nth Power’s Incredible Earth Wind & Fire TributeThe full schedule has them playing at Disc Jam, Electric Forest, Backwoods Pondfest, Camp Barefoot and more throughout the summer, and there’s sure to be more dates added throughout. Do not pass up an opportunity to see The Nth Power, as they never pass up an opportunity to deliver!Check out the tour schedule below, and head to the band’s website for detailsThe Nth Power Summer Tour Dates05/27/2016 – Summer Camp – Chillicothe, IL 05/28/2016 – Bootleg – St. Louis, MO 05/29/2016 – Revival Fest – Geneva, MN 06/11/2016 – Disc Jam – Stephentown, NY 06/12/2016 – The Highline Ballroom – New York, NY 06/18/2016 – Berklee Performance Center – Boston, MA 06/26/2016 – Electric Forest – Rothbury, MI 07/06/2016 – Empire – Portland, ME 07/07/2016 – Birdseye Lounge – Portsmouth, NH 07/08/2016 – Wheelhouse – Galilee, RI 07/09/2016 – Arch Street Tavern – Hartford, CT 08/04/2016 – The Acoustic – Bridgeport, CT 08/05/2016 – Beechcomber – Wellfleet, MA 08/06/2016 – Backwoods Pondfest – Rothbury, MI 08/19/2016 – Camp Barefoot – Elkins, WV 08/20/2016 – Salem Soul and Jazz Fest – Salem, MA
Load remaining images The String Cheese Incident kept things exciting at Electric Forest last night, coming in on the heels of a great opening night that saw the group collaborate with GRiZ and more. The band promised an extra-special set for their Saturday night performance, and delivered wholeheartedly, paying tribute to the late legends Prince and David Bowie in the process.After an excellent first set that featured some classic originals like opener “Bollymunster” and a great “Song In My Head” > “Dudley’s Kitchen” combination, it was really the second set that stood out as a highlight. The band took the opportunity to pay tribute to Prince and David Bowie with a Prince > Bowie > Prince > Bowie section in the middle of the set with help from Karl Denson on saxophone. The tribute started with Prince’s “Kiss,” before heading into Bowie’s “Let’s Dance.” They kept things up with a great “Let’s Go Crazy,” and closed out the tribute with a spaced out “Space Oddity.” The band wasn’t done there, as they segued into “Search” and kept things grooving throughout the second set.Also of note was the band’s live debut of “Believe,” a track that appeared on their recently-released SCI Sound Lab Vol. 1 EP. Multi-instrumentalist Michael Kang told us about the inspiration for “Believe” in a recent interview, which you can read here. Electric Forest rages on tonight, June 26th, so don’t miss the action!Check out the full setlist below, courtesy of the band, along with some photos from Patrick Hughes “Faces of Festivals” in the gallery below.Setlist: The String Cheese Incident at Electric Forest, Rothbury, MI – 6/25/16Set 1: BollyMunster, Song In My Head > Dudley’s Kitchen, Sweet Spot, Falling Through the Cracks, Turn This Around > Can’t Wait Another Day, BeautifulSet 2: Believe, Stop Drop Roll, Kiss (Prince) > Let’s Dance* (Bowie) > Let’s Go Crazy* (Prince) > Space Oddity* (Bowie), Search, Valley of the Jig > Kinky Reggae, Colliding, Jellyfish > Just One Story* w/ Karl Denson
Beloved jammers The String Cheese Incident kicked off their summer tour proper last night, hitting the ExploreAsheville.com Arena in Asheville, NC for the first night of their summer headlining tour. After hitting Electric Forest for three nights last weekend, yesterday’s show marked the first official String Cheese Incident headlining performance since their West Coast March Madness tour. The band has been quite busy of late, working on their new SCI Sound Lab project. The “Sound Lab” is essentially the band’s first-ever self-owned studio space, and SCI has been vocal in wanting to release a steady stream of new material from the sessions. They even recently announced plans to not tour during the fall and winter, as to continue their work on new music. Whatever recipe String Cheese is cooking, we’re excited to taste it.Last night saw the live debut of the most recently-released single, an upbeat tune called “Get Tight.” (You can stream the studio single here). The show opened with a cover of “Birdland” that featured “Lonesome Road Blues,” and the show also featured covers of Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish” and Bob Dylan’s “Quinn The Eskimo.” Of course, there were no shortage of classic SCI jams, as the band brought out tunes like “Beautiful,” “Texas,” and the set-closing “Can’t Stop Now.”Check out the full setlist below, courtesy of Friends Of Cheese.Setlist: The String Cheese Incident at ExploreAsheville.com Arena, Asheville, NC – 7/1/16Set 1: Birdland > Lonesome Road Blues > Birdland, Lost > Don’t it Make Ya Wanna Dance, Mouna Bowa, Get Tight, Little Hands > BeautifulSet 2: Texas, Hi Ho No Show, Falling Through The Cracks > I Wish, Piece of Mine, It is What it Is > Can’t Stop NowEncore: Quinn, The Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)Notes: Live debut of “Get Tight”
Spoken word artist and poet Prince Ea (Richard Williams) has shifted his career over the last couple of years, choosing to focus more on filmmaking and spoken word pieces than traditional music and hip-hop recordings.His latest piece of work features the artist putting the American school system on trial, questioning its current archaic methods:“Are you proud of the things you’ve done? Turning millions of people into robots Do you find that fun? Do realize how many kids relate to that fish? Swimming upstream in class, never finding their gifts Thinking they are stupid, Believing they are useless? The time has come, no more excuses, I call school to the stand And excuse him of killing creativity, individuality, and being intellectually abusive He is an ancient institution that has outlived his usage.”He goes into comparing other industries to the school system, looking at telephones and cars from 150+ years ago, showing that that while those have made incredible strides in their evolution, the classroom has not changed at all. Ea argues that while other nations are changing with the times, and truly challenging students, our system is living in the past, which is the reason for our recent decline in education ranking worldwide. He certainly has a point, but check it out for yourself below:
It has been four years since The Shins released Port of Morrow (2012), their fourth studio album which presented itself after a five year hiatus. While frontman James Mercer is the only original member remaining, the current lineup consists of drummer Joe Plummer (formerly of Modest Mouse), guitarist Mark Watrous, bassist Yuuki Matthews, and keyboardist Richard Swift (The Arcs, The Black Keys). This lineup maintains the alternative folk rock persona that The Shins created in 1996, while adding elements of dream pop to their recent configuration.After establishing the band’s return with their first track release in late October with this creepy cool music video for “Dead Alive”, they continue their resurgence with a lyrical video for a second track, “Name For You”. This song displays more of the timelessly poppy vibe that The Shins are known for, diversifying from the previous track and giving hope for their upcoming record, dubbed Heartworms, which is due out March 10. If these two tracks are any indication, we’re looking forward to more of these infectious ballads from The Shins in 2017.The record is produced by Mercer, who dedicates “Name For You” as a hopeful ode of empowerment to his daughters. “Given all the drops in the ocean, better take it one sip at a time,” he sings. “Somebody with an antique notion comes along to tighten the line, they’re just afraid of you speaking your mind.”Full track listing for Heartworms:Name For YouPainting A HoleCherry HeartsFantasy IslandMildenhallRubber BallzHalf A MillionDead AliveHeartwormsSo Now WhatThe Fear
Today Colorado jam outfit Magic Beans announced the final lineup additions for the 2017 edition of their Beanstalk Music and Arts Festival. In addition to two sets from Portland quintet Fruition, Snarky Puppy’s Cory Henry and his band The Funk Apostles will perform for the Rancho Del Rio crowd.As was previously announced, these acts will join the Beans, Moshi Fameus (featuring Aron Magner and Allen Aucoin of The Disco Biscuits), Vulfpeck’s Theo Katzman, Reed Mathis & Electric Beethoven, Kitchen Dwellers, Tom Hamilton’s American Babies with Magner, Holly Bowling, and many more for what promises to be an incredible weekend of music. You can view the full lineup below:Tickets are available here. For more information about Beanstalk Music and Arts Festical 2017, visit the event website.