Category Archives: Concert Reviews

An Umphrey’s Revival

Umphrey’s Mcgee

Cannery Row Revival

Nashville, Tennessee

August 19, 2006

 

Umphrey’s McGee stopped by Nashville to launch the city’s only remaining outdoor music series, the Cannery Row Revival.  Their original, improvised, progressive rock and jams had the swollen crowd moving and grooving throughout the evening.  Umphrey’s has taken the jam world by storm, and shows no sign of easing their relentless efforts to conquer the scene as the leaders of the musical movement.

 

Even the hot mugginess of a late August night could not prevent the band from delivering two scorching sets of music.  Enjoy this photo essay from the show, and catch them on their busy fall tour. 

 

Tour dates and more information about the band are available at:  www.umphreysmcgee.com

 

All photos by Brad Hodge 

 

One-man rock in Seattle

Scott Biram

Sunset Tavern

Seattle, Washington

September 1, 2006

 

Words/photos by Candise Kola

 

The jam scene has had its own one-man wonder in Keller Williams for a while, so when I considered checking out Scott Biram, I was curious what he would bring to the table that Keller already hadn’t.  I was pleasantly surprised to see he had plenty in his pockets that Keller probably wouldn’t dream of.  He wasn’t trying to copy what has already been done with a bunch of fancy looping equipment and a guitar.

 

Scott Biram

 

Biram, a one man band from Austin, Texas, is what one could call the antithesis of Keller’s squeaky, freaky, tweaky sense of humor and song repertoire.  He brings to the stage a redneck/blue collar image, complete with a trucker’s hat, brown work pants and a mean handlebar moustache, and he sings with a blues/roots/gospel/country/punk edge.  His foot board and Bible provide the right amount of thump needed to keep the audience clapping along with him.

 

When your eyes are greeted with his stage set-up, you see plenty of vintage gear amongst other things, and when Biram begins the show one hears a man who is definitely singing with soul.  He does not mess around with delivery, and will frequently remind his audience with his bullhorn to “SHUTTHEFUCKUP!” if he suspects attention is going elsewhere – his performance demands your attention.

 

Biram’s song list is compiled of material from his 4 releases, peppered with just the right amount of appropriately matched cover tunes.  I was thrilled to see him work the audience with a very involved version of the gospel tune, “What’s His Name!” and then swiftly jump to the blues roots classic “Just Cant Be Satisfied.”  He winded down the one and a half hour set with a very gritty and speedy “Black Betty.”

 

Scott Biram Biram’s guitar work lends itself well to all the musical styles he delivers.  He appears to feel his music – his stage gestures indicate he loves what he’s doing.  He pairs the enthusiasm with a brand of humor sure to shock.  Picture if you will a rubber fist…uh yeah…THAT kind of rubber fist…swung around the air while Biram informs the audience “this thing ain’t just for collecting nickels ya know!”  It’s so easy to laugh and it’s even easier to enjoy the music.  The guy seriously works every minute of the show.

 

Inspired, I picked up his new CD, Graveyard Shift, on the way out the door and have been listening ever since.  His stories are just what you’d expect: unrequited love, various badass-isms, trucks, the road, drinking, the devil and Jesus.  They are put together well, keep the listener imagining the characters being sung about, all the while laughing at the picture your mind’s eye paints.  This is the kind of CD that is great for a road trip; it will have you singing along and slapping the steering wheel in no time.

 

Biram is on the road this fall, supporting his new CD.  His is a unique style that any blues, country, rock, gospel or punk fan would enjoy and appreciate.  I whole heartedly recommend the $10.00 ticket- it’s an entertainment bargain.

B.B. Comes To Town in Kettering

Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons

7/16/06

Fox Theatre

Boulder, CO

 

 

It’s no secret.

 

I am a Jerry Joseph fan. 

 

I often take pride in ruffling the feathers of those who don’t care for the sometimes-abrasive songwriter with my rants of his greatness. 

 

Jerry Joseph When I heard Jerry’s longtime band the Jackmormons had grown to five deep, I was anxious, yet a little reserved about the new incarnation.  Would the addition of Little Women guitarist Steve James take away from Jerry’s thunder?  And would percussionist Steve Drizos make an impact with the utter loudness of the Jackmormons? 

 

After missing my opportunity to catch one of their post-Widespread Panic shows in Winter Park, I arrived at Boulder’s Fox Theatre ready to go.  The opening “K-Line” kicked things off, serving as a convincing argument for the band’s new arrangement.  James’ presence did in fact tone down Jerry’s guitar; however, it also provided a more rounded result.  Jerry’s play seems less aggressive, with more down tempo twists and turns. 

 

This helped to answer my second question: the additional musicians had a reverse effect of what I had expected.   Rather than being too much fat to chew, there was more elbow room in every song.  The presence of percussionist Drizo did in fact manage to break the sound barrier. 

 

During “The Jump,” Jerry took the reins for a moment, delivering the thick riffs that Jackmormon fans are used to, occasionally playing rhythm to his own lead.  Then, with a blessed “We Will Go Down,” everything drifted back toward the newly balanced sound. 

 

Jerry Joseph & the Jackmormons

 

Added vocals, another guitar, and some hard-working percussion have built nicely on the garage rock sound of Brad, Junior and Jerry’s cigarette-stained efforts.  As they segued into “Good Sunday” I found no reason to hold reservation toward the new Jackmormons.

 

Before launching into a section of material off the new release Into the Lovely, Joseph dropped a red hot “Belmont Radiator” as a pleasant little surprise.  The depth of material Jerry has written leaves many seldom-traveled roads lying in wait.  Songs like “Thistle” may be shelved for a while and then pulled back out, kicking and screaming all along the way. 

 

Steve James “Thistle > USA” started a segue of songs that did not let up until the band had ripped thru “Comes a Time > Mohawk > Comes a Time > Mohawk” flawlessly moving from one song to the other and back. 

 

The Jackmormons are, without a doubt, a must-see when they come screaming through your town.  The new instrumentation of the band and the more balanced sound will appeal to a larger crowd, winning over some of the holdouts and disbelievers. 

 

I hope that this fall brings the enlarged Jackmormons to the southeast, and maybe Steve and Jerry will see fit to dust off a few more Little Women songs now that they’ve been joined by some old friends.                                 

“Sugartooth McDan” tour touches down in Cincinnati

Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons

7/16/06

Fox Theatre

Boulder, CO

 

 

It’s no secret.

 

I am a Jerry Joseph fan. 

 

I often take pride in ruffling the feathers of those who don’t care for the sometimes-abrasive songwriter with my rants of his greatness. 

 

Jerry Joseph When I heard Jerry’s longtime band the Jackmormons had grown to five deep, I was anxious, yet a little reserved about the new incarnation.  Would the addition of Little Women guitarist Steve James take away from Jerry’s thunder?  And would percussionist Steve Drizos make an impact with the utter loudness of the Jackmormons? 

 

After missing my opportunity to catch one of their post-Widespread Panic shows in Winter Park, I arrived at Boulder’s Fox Theatre ready to go.  The opening “K-Line” kicked things off, serving as a convincing argument for the band’s new arrangement.  James’ presence did in fact tone down Jerry’s guitar; however, it also provided a more rounded result.  Jerry’s play seems less aggressive, with more down tempo twists and turns. 

 

This helped to answer my second question: the additional musicians had a reverse effect of what I had expected.   Rather than being too much fat to chew, there was more elbow room in every song.  The presence of percussionist Drizo did in fact manage to break the sound barrier. 

 

During “The Jump,” Jerry took the reins for a moment, delivering the thick riffs that Jackmormon fans are used to, occasionally playing rhythm to his own lead.  Then, with a blessed “We Will Go Down,” everything drifted back toward the newly balanced sound. 

 

Jerry Joseph & the Jackmormons

 

Added vocals, another guitar, and some hard-working percussion have built nicely on the garage rock sound of Brad, Junior and Jerry’s cigarette-stained efforts.  As they segued into “Good Sunday” I found no reason to hold reservation toward the new Jackmormons.

 

Before launching into a section of material off the new release Into the Lovely, Joseph dropped a red hot “Belmont Radiator” as a pleasant little surprise.  The depth of material Jerry has written leaves many seldom-traveled roads lying in wait.  Songs like “Thistle” may be shelved for a while and then pulled back out, kicking and screaming all along the way. 

 

Steve James “Thistle > USA” started a segue of songs that did not let up until the band had ripped thru “Comes a Time > Mohawk > Comes a Time > Mohawk” flawlessly moving from one song to the other and back. 

 

The Jackmormons are, without a doubt, a must-see when they come screaming through your town.  The new instrumentation of the band and the more balanced sound will appeal to a larger crowd, winning over some of the holdouts and disbelievers. 

 

I hope that this fall brings the enlarged Jackmormons to the southeast, and maybe Steve and Jerry will see fit to dust off a few more Little Women songs now that they’ve been joined by some old friends.                                 

Two new Jackmormons in Boulder

Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons

7/16/06

Fox Theatre

Boulder, CO

 

 

It’s no secret.

 

I am a Jerry Joseph fan. 

 

I often take pride in ruffling the feathers of those who don’t care for the sometimes-abrasive songwriter with my rants of his greatness. 

 

Jerry Joseph When I heard Jerry’s longtime band the Jackmormons had grown to five deep, I was anxious, yet a little reserved about the new incarnation.  Would the addition of Little Women guitarist Steve James take away from Jerry’s thunder?  And would percussionist Steve Drizos make an impact with the utter loudness of the Jackmormons? 

 

After missing my opportunity to catch one of their post-Widespread Panic shows in Winter Park, I arrived at Boulder’s Fox Theatre ready to go.  The opening “K-Line” kicked things off, serving as a convincing argument for the band’s new arrangement.  James’ presence did in fact tone down Jerry’s guitar; however, it also provided a more rounded result.  Jerry’s play seems less aggressive, with more down tempo twists and turns. 

 

This helped to answer my second question: the additional musicians had a reverse effect of what I had expected.   Rather than being too much fat to chew, there was more elbow room in every song.  The presence of percussionist Drizo did in fact manage to break the sound barrier. 

 

During “The Jump,” Jerry took the reins for a moment, delivering the thick riffs that Jackmormon fans are used to, occasionally playing rhythm to his own lead.  Then, with a blessed “We Will Go Down,” everything drifted back toward the newly balanced sound. 

 

Jerry Joseph & the Jackmormons

 

Added vocals, another guitar, and some hard-working percussion have built nicely on the garage rock sound of Brad, Junior and Jerry’s cigarette-stained efforts.  As they segued into “Good Sunday” I found no reason to hold reservation toward the new Jackmormons.

 

Before launching into a section of material off the new release Into the Lovely, Joseph dropped a red hot “Belmont Radiator” as a pleasant little surprise.  The depth of material Jerry has written leaves many seldom-traveled roads lying in wait.  Songs like “Thistle” may be shelved for a while and then pulled back out, kicking and screaming all along the way. 

 

Steve James “Thistle > USA” started a segue of songs that did not let up until the band had ripped thru “Comes a Time > Mohawk > Comes a Time > Mohawk” flawlessly moving from one song to the other and back. 

 

The Jackmormons are, without a doubt, a must-see when they come screaming through your town.  The new instrumentation of the band and the more balanced sound will appeal to a larger crowd, winning over some of the holdouts and disbelievers. 

 

I hope that this fall brings the enlarged Jackmormons to the southeast, and maybe Steve and Jerry will see fit to dust off a few more Little Women songs now that they’ve been joined by some old friends.                                 

Phish 2.0 at the Ryman

The Duo/ Trey Anastasio and Mike Gordon with the Duo

Ryman

Nashville, TN

7/16/06

 

 

I was pretty excited to find out that Marco Benevento and Joe Russo would be touring alongside old friends and bandmates Trey Anastasio and Mike Gordon.  Then came the announcement that they would not only be playing in Nashville on July 16, but at the Ryman. 

 

All of a sudden it became some of the most exciting news of the summer.

Continue reading Phish 2.0 at the Ryman

Old Union welcomes back 12th and Porter

Old Union

12th and Porter

Nashville, TN

7/16/06

 

Welcome back, 12th and Porter – Old Union has been waiting.

 

12th and Porter once was one of Nashville’s live music hot spots before the taxman came and took it away.  However, Old Union sent the place out in style, performing a smoking hot last show there over a year ago. 

 

Thanks to new owners, 12th and Porter has hung its shingle once again, and Old Union still seems to like hanging around.

 

 Old Union

 

Chuck Foster’s “1000 New Ways to Fly” greeted the honey hole with perfect sound and a little extra grit.  In fact, the energy bursting out at the opening of the show was only minutely stifled by the pause of David Bryndal’s blown snare head being replaced before ripping into “Jericho”.  There is no doubt that Old Union’s two guitarists cannot possibly make it through a night of playing without pushing things to blisteringly loud levels.  However, the instrumentation of the band has begun to evolve in different layers, and everyone seemed to be playing with a greater level of confidence while riding shotgun alongside new bassist Jason Williams’ dead-on hooks.  Williams added a new dimension to the band with his inventive play, and that freshness led to the retooling of some of the Old Union catalog.

 

Jason Williams “Message to the Maker” continued to showcase a more rounded Old Union as Foster’s barreling boogie-woogie piano strutted around in front of the boisterous and easily provoked guitars.  The band segued nicely into “Deadline”, joined by percussionist Andrew Swift from Ballhog!.  Swift stayed on stage with them for the remainder of the first set.

 

The second set started off to the liking of all in attendance with “J-Dubb” Williams on the doghouse bass and the electric guitars laid down to rest, acoustics armed and ready.  It was an MTV Unplugged version of an acoustic set if you will.  The set started off with a great “Drifter’s Prayer,” followed by a great “Motels and Highways” that took on a new persona as a stripped-away acoustic offering.  Both of these songs underwent a little retooling for the acoustic versions, lending an exciting new outlook on two great songs from the bands’ vast arsenal.  Spotty’s ability on the dobro alone is reason enough to start incorporating more of these acoustic sections to the traveling show.  Then, joined by Randy Russell on background vocals and the band’s talented manager Chris Bledsoe on acoustic guitar and lead vocals, they nailed Bob Dylan’s “You Ain’t Going Nowhere”.

 

A perfect waterfall of notes rang out from a guitar and landed atop the dancing keys of Foster as the intro to “Last Chance” got the electricity flowing once again.  One of the Old Union songs that seemingly received a makeover was “Working.”  Again the presence of Williams on bass helped to show great promise, with innovative takes on their own material.  Old Union has quite a few Rolling Stones songs in the bag, but the most recent cover “Rain Fell Down” is a scorcher.  A good Stones cover can ignite a crowd, and the band nailed this one, then immediately fell into “What’s Going Around,” one of Old Union’s oldest songs.

 

The night ended with a take on JJ Cale’s “Ride Me High”, a song that Old Union covers fairly often.  The crowd’s participation on the last song showed their approval of the night’s performance.

 

With that, another night of rock and roll was finished.  A few cars were towed and a few shots were bellied, all in celebration of the return of 12th and Porter to the Nashville nightscape.    

Black Crowes, Drive-By Truckers, Robert Randolph serve up guitarfest in Nashville

There was no doubt that a night filled with music by southern rock icons the Black Crowes and the Drive-By Truckers would deliver.  In fact, this tour throughout the early summer has been lighting fires to venues across America.  Robert Randolph and the Family Band have also played on most of the dates as the third band on the monstrous bill.

Continue reading Black Crowes, Drive-By Truckers, Robert Randolph serve up guitarfest in Nashville

Black Crowes Rock at Riverbend

Black Crowes

Riverbend Music Center

Cincinnati, Ohio 

August 5, 2006
 

 

The Black Crowes landed on stage at Cincinnati, Ohio’s Riverbend Music Center on August 5, 2006. The legendary Southern band brought with them a sense of purpose in their musical direction and linear improvisational approach. Taking a cue from The Grateful Dead, the Crowes loosely began the evening, jamming several minutes before "Black Moon Creeping" off of 1992’s The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion began to take shape.

Continue reading Black Crowes Rock at Riverbend