Tuesday, May 22, 2007

This week in Richmond - great music edition

Sweetness. I gotta tell ya, if you are going to live in Virginia and you want a variety of good music, the place to be is Richmond. For the next three nights, Thadd and I are about to see some really great shows, for very little money.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007
- The Dark Star Orchestra (DSO) at Innsbruck Pavilion, gates open at 6pm, tickets are ONLY $10.00. Some info about DSO:
There are a lot of cover bands around and a lot of those are Grateful Dead cover bands. You've seen them, they're good. Most include the music of Jerry Garcia, Bobby Weir et al with other cover songs and some originals mixed in. DSO is a different breed of "Dead" band. What Dark Star Orchestra does is recreate the Grateful Dead. Not with hippie wigs and fake beards but through the live music. They play the setlist song for song in the same arrangements used by the Dead members of that period. When you're at a DSO show you may really be in the Providence Civic Center back in May of '81. Or you could even be at the 1973 Denver Coliseum show listening to Weather Report Suite. Who knows?

Actually no one does and that's part of the trip. The date of the show to be recreated is kept secret right up till the performance. Oh, there are clues (the number and placement of microphones, the keyboard setup, a midi guitar) and the secret becomes part of a game. Usually the audience in front starts throwing out guesses toward the end of the first set. The wiser observer waits for the start of the second set to venture a showdate. Sometimes a curious look comes over the faces of the audience as they realize, "Hey! I was at this show!" followed by a smile as they realize...they're at the show again! Remember: This is an exhibition, not a competition. So please....no wagering! The original showdate, for those who are DEADBASE-impaired, is announced at the end of the night usually followed by an extended encore of the band's choosing.

Even the press has caught on to what they're trying to do. Rolling Stone did a feature piece on the band in its June 20th, 2002 issue and USA Today says DSO is "channeling the Dead." Relix Magazine also did an in-depth feature article on the band in their Spring 2000 issue (Vol. 27 No. 2) and the Washington Post declared them "the hottest Grateful Dead tribute act going" but what they do is not just a tribute to the Grateful Dead but a testament to the enormous number of unique setlists they performed in their long career. Dark Star Orchestra takes the framework of the original setlists and sees where it can take them.
It's gonna be awesome, and we are psyched.

Next up...

Thursday, May 24, 2007
- Medeski Martin and Wood (MMW) at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, doors open at 5:30pm, MMW starts at 7:30pm, opening band (Homeade Bread) starts at 6pm, tickets are ONLY $20 each. Some info about MMW:
Medeski Martin & Wood (or MMW) is a US jazz trio originally formed in 1991, consisting of John Medeski on keyboards, Billy Martin on drums and percussion, and Chris Wood on double bass and bass guitar.

The band members were introduced to each other by jazz drummer Bob Moses, who had performed with both John Medeski and Chris Wood, and was Billy Martin's instructor. Medeski Martin & Wood's first performances together were at the Village Gate, a popular New York jazz club. They were initially an acoustic jazz trio, but Medeski quickly added a Hammond organ when the difficulties of touring with a piano became apparent. Their first album, Notes from the Underground, is a record of their entirely-acoustic era. All of their subsequest albums reveal Medeski's usage of a wide variety of electronic keyboards, including a mellotron, a melodica, and a clavinet, among others. Chris Wood entirely eschewed the electric bass for MMW's first three albums, and still relies heavily on the acoustic upright bass in recordings and during live performances. Their earlier albums reveal a soul jazz oriented direction, which is the primary theme of their well-known 1996 album, Shack-man. MMW's "Blue Note Years", which spanned the years 1998-2005, showed them delving deeper into dense, electronic funk than their earlier albums, although the band continued to experiment with free jazz both on their albums and in concert.

Medeski Martin & Wood's live performances are renowned for their exploratory nature. Their concerts usually involve extended improvisations, which may be both arrhythmic and atonal, an aspect of their musicianship that is rarely documented in the studio. They also embark on an occasional acoustic tour, reverting back to the instrumentation that they began with. Their album Tonic is an example of these more contemporary acoustic performances. They have also done short tours of entirely improvisatory performances, a feat which few musicians would undertake. These shows usually consisted of two sets of improvisation, followed by an encore of a song from an album.

The band received some of their first significant exposure outside of the New York City jazz scene by performing with Phish at their October 14, 1995 concert, which led to the association of the group as a jam band.
If you don't know them this is a GREAT price, and an AMAZING venue to see them perform. We. Are. SUPER PSYCHED.

Last, but definitely not least...

Friday, May 25, 2007 - The Roots (well known from the Dave Chappelle Show) at Richmond Intermediate Terminal on the James, gates open at 6pm, tickets are ONLY nothing, aka FREE admission. Some info about The Roots:
The Roots' original lineup included Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter (MC) and Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson (drums), who were classmates at the Philadelphia High School for Creative Performing Arts. As they began to play at school and on the streets, they added a bassist named Josh "The Rubberband" Abrams, who went on to form the Jazz group The Josh Abrams Quartet. They later added another MC named Malik Abdul Basit-Smart ("Malik B."), a new bassist Leonard Nelson Hubbard ("Hub"), and a keyboardist named Scott Storch, who eventually became one of the most prominent rap producers in the industry. Another MC, Kid Crumbs, was a part of the group for their first album, Organix, but did not appear on any later albums. Another MC, Dice Raw, joined on for cameos in later albums. Scott Storch also left to pursue a producing career following the Do You Want More?!!!??! album. Although, the split was on amicable terms and Storch continues to produce tracks for Roots albums to this day. The Roots filled his void with another keyboardist, Kamal Gray, who is still a member.

A beatboxer named Rahzel also joined the group and contributed from 1995-1999. Alongside Rahzel was vocal turntablist Scratch, who DJ'd for them during live concerts. He abruptly left in 2003. Malik B. left the group in 1999 due to drug problems but continued to record, making occasional cameos on future albums. A guitarist, Ben Kenney, had a short stint with the group and contributed to their Phrenology album, but left to join Incubus as their bassist. A percussionist, F Knuckles, was added in 2002 and guitarist, Kirk Douglas (a.k.a. "Captain Kirk"), replaced Kenney. A vocalist, Martin Luther, toured with The Roots in 2003 and 2004 and contributed to their Tipping Point album. The current members of The Roots are Black Thought (MC), ?uestlove (drums), Hub (bass), Kamal (keyboard), F Knuckles (percussion), and Captain Kirk (guitar).

All members have worked with PETA to promote animal compassion and vegetarian lifestyle.
It is all going to be awesome. Please drop me a line if you will be at any or all of these shows. We would love to see you. :)


Blogger Terry Carter said...

"Medeski Martin & Wood (or MMW)"

Speaking of, do you plan on going to Starscape by any chance?

9:17 PM  
Blogger Phriendly Jaime said...

I may, you?

9:31 PM  
Blogger Terry Carter said...

Doubt it, I've been the past two years but the lineup isn't worth the $$$ this year.

Well, not like it was last year either but, last year I didn't have to pay to get in, and last year I actually had money to blow. I'm broke because of getting ready to move right now, though :'(

Not to mention I don't like that Ultraworld is putting emphasis on jam bands over EDM now, either ;)

9:38 PM  
Anonymous jeremy said...

Wow, I thought MMW was today. And I didn't know about the Roots, awesome.

11:09 AM  
Blogger Jason Kenney said...

MMW is alright live. I caught them in NYC this past October. Personally I prefer their album work because I like the more structured songs that have endings as opposed to the jam band aspect they take on live. Still a decent show, but not my cup of tea. Hope it was a good time.

The Roots, man, I may have to go check that out...

12:45 PM  
Blogger Phriendly Jaime said...

They were alright, Jason. It was definitely a dirty smelly hippie fest, but we socialized and met some very cool people, and had some great political discussions as well. Plus, they serve great beer at the Gardens; not your typical all American beer truck blandness.

I have to figure out where this place is tonight-I'll look for you. :)

4:00 PM  

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