Monday, August 24, 2009

Lost in the Trees and The Love Language

The town of Chapel Hill conspired with the local 506 to bring us all a marvel of a live concert on the rooftop of the downtown parking deck. Lost in the Trees is a "folk orchestra" from Chapel Hill, NC, led by Ari Picker. Ari Picker, who attended the Berklee College of Music, blends American folk and traditional classical music in a way that is completely original. The band contains a full string section, horns, bass and versitle multi-instrumentalists along with a drummer. All Alone In An Empty House is the latest album from this band and its an instant classic to my ear. There are straight up classical sketches for strings (Mvt I & Mvt II) and there are smoldering electric guitar romps like "Fireplace." All of this was performed Thursday night with stunning grace and ease. A high point of this set is the embittered "All Alone in an Empty House." Ari and his large band go to the head of the class among the smart rock set.

Lost in the Trees

Next up was the Love Language whose lo-fi self titled release sounds nothing like the joyful noise this band makes in a performance. Polished and full sounding, this band is rather large as well featuring 2 keyboardists, bass, 2 guitarists and a drummer and for this show a trumpet. Bouncy, upbeat, hooky are all words that you could use to define them. Band founder Stuart McLamb finds himself in a really great live band after singlehandedly playing every instrument on the Album. From the country tinged "Stars" to the bubbly rocker "Lalita" the love language delivered a memorable set.

The Love Language

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Couple Hundred Bands I've seen...

A partial list. People on facebook are generating these and I thought I'd post one too.

10,000 Maniacs
Aimee Mann
Alex Chilton
Amy Rigby (2)
An Horse
Arcade Fire
Arrogance (3)
Badly Drawn Boy
Beat Rodeo
Ben Folds Five (3)
Billy Bragg
Billy Price & the Keysone Rhythm Section
Boss Martians
British Sea Power
Bruce Cockburn
Bruce Springsteen (5)
Buddy & Julie Miller
Caitlyn Cary
Cat Power
Cheap Trick
Chris Stamey
Cliff Hillis
Conitnental Drifters
Corrosion of Conformity
Dave Davies
Dex Romweber Duo
Dillon Fence
Django Haskins
Don Dixon (7)
Eight Eyes
Eleni Mandell
Elliott Smith
Elvis Costello (3)
English Beat (2)
Fetchin' Bones
Fleetwood Mac
Flock of Seagulls
Gang of Four
Gillian Welch (3)
Glen Tillbrook
Glory Fountain
Grandmaster Flash and the Furious 5
Great Northern
Guadalcanal Diary
Hammer No More the Fingers
Heather Nova
Hege V
Hoodoo Gurus
Hotel Lights
James Taylor
Jay Bennett
Jeff Hart and the Ruins
Jeff Tweedy
John Hiatt
Johnny Quest
Josh Ritter
Josh Rouse
Jump Little Children
Ken Stringfellow
Kenny Roby and the Mercy Filter
Kick the Future
Killer Filler
Laurie Anderson
Les Paul
Let's Active
Long Ryders
Love Tractor
Lucinda Williams
Lyle Lovett
Lynne Blakey
Marshall Crenshaw
Matt Suggs
Matthew Sweet
Mayflies USA
Michael Penn
Mitch Easter
Neil Cleary
Neil Diamond All Stars
Neil Young
Nick Lowe
Parthenon Huxley
Pat DiNizio (At Pinehill Farm)
Patty Hearst Shifter
Paul McCartney
Paul Westerberg
Peter Bruntnell
Peter Case
Peter Holsapple
Polyphonic Spree
Pressure Boys
Psychedlic Furs
REM (4)
Rachel Nevadas
Rain Parade
Reckless Eric
Regina Hexaphone
Richard Buckner
Richard Lloyd
Richard Thompson (5)
Rick Rock
Robbie Rist
Robyn Hitchcock
Ron Sexsmith (With Nick Lowe)
Run DMC (in NYC)
Ryan Adams
Scott Miller and the Commonwealth
Snatches of Pink
Southern Culture on the Skids
Spoon (2)
Squirrel Nut Zippers
T-Bone Burnett
Talking Heads
Taz Halloween
Teddy Thompson
Ten Ten
Tenament Halls
Th' Cigaretz
Thad Cockerell
The 3D's
The Alarm
The Backsliders
The Church
The Churchills
The Clash
The Dots (from NYC)
The Fabulous Knobs
The Frames
The Gladhands
The Grip Weeds
The Hanks
The Individuals
The Jayhawks
The Kamikazees
The Kingsbury Manx
The Magnetic Fields
The Moaners
The Mothers (without Zappa)
The Music Tapes
The Never
The OAK Team
The Old Ceremony
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
The Posies
The Pressure Boys
The Radar Brothers
The Replacements
The Rolling Stones
The Rosebuds
The Sex Police
The Shake
The Shazam
The Silos
The Snap
The Sneakers
The Stars Explode
The Sundays
The Swales
The Swimming Pool Qs
The Three O'Clock
The Who
The Wygals
The X Teens
The dB's
They Might Be Giants
Three Hits
Tift Merritt (3)
Tim Easton (5)
Tim Lee and the Windbreakers
Todd Rundgren
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Tommy Keene
Trailer Bride
Tres Chicas
Treva Spontane and the Graphic
Two Dollar Pistols
U2 (2)
UV Prom
Van Halen
Verve Pipe
Walter Clevenger & the Dairy Kings
Warren Zevon
Will Kimbrough
Wye Oak

Monday, August 10, 2009

20 Memorable shows I've played

Building on Jeff Hart's Idea, I typed this up...

1) Opening for the Replacements in 1984 at the 688 in Atlanta. My band One Plus Two opened for this legendary band on a night when they were ragged and right. We managed to drink some of their upscale beers and roll their dressing room before they came offstage. (1984)

2) 1+2 Opening dB's old Cat's Cradle Franklin Street - Pre "Like This" era dB's. Met Peter and Chris for the first time. Enjoyed chatting with Peter when he walked in singing "Sound of the Rain" from the newish Rank and File record which I had just bought. Affable guys great band! (1983)

3) 1+2 Opening for OH OK - Athens, GA, old 40 Watt downtown. That whole damn weekend was magic. The PA went out at the beginning of our set so we had to fill with junk music while MILLS,STIPE,BERRY&BUCK milled about the room. No I wasn't tooooo nervous. Met Lynne Blakey for the first time and Peter Buck! The band that played between us and (Linda Stipes band) OH OK? Matthew Sweets band called Buzz of Delight. What a night!(1983)

4) Swamis and Majosha at the 1988 Battle of the Bands in Durham, NC. Majosha. Ben Fold's nascent band played their first gig at Duke University's Battle of the Bands in 1988 and won in a final song "Play off" against US!

5) Chronic Night - Cats Cradle (2001) Played under my name with Brent Lambert accompanying me on guitar. This great tribute to REM was something I thought I would never get to play. I owe Frank Heath for thinking of me. I sincerely appreciated the opportunity to play for such a large crowd.

6) Guadal Canal Diary opening for 1+2 at the Cat's Cradle. Odd way things work with on of my very favourite bands of all time opening for mine. They were amazing and they split town as soon as they were packed up. (1984)

7. Borrowing from Jeff Hart, Songwriters alliance show at Berkeley Cafe - Guests were Ryan Adams, Sara Bell & Jerry Kee. This gig became a near riot and required Raleigh's finest to break it up. I was a newish quasi-regular. I left the stage area when the action got heavy. I could NOT get Ryan's name right all night long, I kept calling him the wrong name. He still spoke to me anyway and eventually, I got his name right. Ryan was playing a beat up Kay guitar and sounding better than my fancyish epiphone.

8) 1+2 Opens for Red Hot Chili Peppers to an empty Cradle on a Sunday Night! Unhappy Californians (1983)

9) 1+2 Opens for the venerable Hoodoo Gurus to a packed Cradle. I loved this band. What a pleasure to get to open for the Aussies on their first US tour. (1984)

10) Swamis open for Let's Active (1986) Every Dog Has His Day was the record. I had opened for Let's Active before but this show had momentum to be huge and it was an important gig for this new newish band of mine.

11) 1+2 Opens for 10,000 Maniacs at the Cat's Cradle. Geez it was unbelievable there almost
every night in the 80's. This show was no exception (1983).

12) 1+2 Opens for The Three O'clock at the Brewery in Raleigh. Unbelievably pop performaces from both bands. Everybody had their top button on their shirts buttoned, yeah? (1982)

13) Swamis and Chris Stamey - Brewery Raleigh, NC (1987) Unbelievable night of music from Chris. He had not played in the area for a while so this was a reentry show of sorts from him. Lots of material from fireworks.

14) Swamis Opening for Richard Lloyd on his "Field of Fire" tour. Amazing guitarist. Enough said. (1987)

15) 1+2 Opening for Beat Rodeo at the old 40 Watt in Athens, GA. Eating Pizza at Automatic for the People! Something in the air at that time that couldn't be beat. (1983)

16) 1+2 opens for the Rain Parade at the Cat's Cradle. I brought these psychedelic fellas back to my house to hang out after the show. Very cool band with a great sound.

17) Songwriters Alliance with Chris Stamey and Jeff Hart (199?) filling in for Wes LaChot it was my first time playing next to Chris Stamey. I've never seen a more prepared performer in my life. Lots of mental notes taken.

18) 1+2 Opening for the Fleshtones a the Milestone, Charlotte, NC (1983). As if playing the decrepit Milestone wasn't enough fun opening for the then venerable Fleshtones and this run-down gem of a club

19) Pound Notes Playing the Milestone in Charlotte (1982) Opening was Hope Nichols and a very early version of Fetchin' Bones as it was just Hope plus a guitarist (acoustic at that) Even then you could tell she was talent waiting to explode.

20) 1+2 Opening for Swimming Pool Q's (many times) I LOVE THIS BAND. Annie Boston can sing! (1984)