Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Middlin' May


It sure starts off right...seeing Steppin' In It at the Ten Pound Fiddle Coffeehouse on May 1. They are just so much fun to be around...great energy, pretty funny and wonderful musicians. Thanks to Rachael Davis for coming and singing (and bringing your little one!). I know I just saw them a couple weeks ago, but geez, give a music-lover a break...I really enjoy this band.

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Seeger at 86 on the cover of Sing Out! (Summer...Image via Wikipedia








Moving along to Monday the 4th, our friend Sally Potter organized a birthday sing along tribute to Pete Seeger's 90th birthday. There must have been nearly a 100 people there (Unitarian Church in East Lansing), led by Matt Watroba (huge Seeger fan and historian) and others. It was a night of fondness and love for a man of peace and courage. We even signed a large (like 4 feet X 6 feet) card for old Pete.
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On May 8 my second oldest, Heather, graduated with her Masters in Social Work from Michigan State University. No, not much music here, but hey, I am terribly proud of her.
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The 15th brought the May 2009 edition of The Coffeehouse at All Saints where we sort of had an, "End of School" theme. The sing alongs included, "School's Out", "Be True To Your School", "Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard" and the Bob Blue words to Paul Anka's, "My Way"....which if you've heard it has hilarious lyrics any school teacher would enjoy! We'll take a break in June and July and return with the annual, "Out on the Farm" rendition of The Coffeehouse At All Saints where we meet at the farm of Gail and Dan Crane, have a cookout, hayrides and a sing along by the campfire. Saturday, August 22. Details to follow. See you there!
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Tired as we were from last night we are once again energized by...The East Lansing Art Festival! I must remember...there is art there. Why do you laugh? Oh, because the truth is I really look forward to the music. Wanda Deegan organizes it and procures the musical artists and really did a wonderful job this year.



First off we were ablle to catch, "THE STRING DOCTORS A new kind of Country Swing" with Ray Kamalay, Joel Mabus, Peter Knupfer & Dave Rosin at noon on the Main Stage on Saturday the 16th. Having seen them at the WKAR taping of Backstage Pass earlier in the year we were eagerly awaiting their return. Their banter fits the outdoor concert scene and their musicianship was wonderful...especially Joel Mabus (no surprise, I know).
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Then we cruised the Festival, enjoying good weather (mostly) and many happy people.
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Were we in for a treat at 3PM with The Vienna Teng Trio.



Vienna Teng at Joe's Pub in NYC 4-7-07 Photogr...Image via Wikipedia

WOW! Is she a talent or what?! Vibrant, charming...a much-too-short hour and 15 of "Chamber folk" music. Original songs played with expertise by the trio. I really enjoyed this set.








Well, following Vienna Teng, The Ragbirds from Ann Arbor came out and knocked our socks off! Erin Zindle is the lead singer and fiddler extraordinaire! What energy! Global groove music...got everybody moving...even Vienna Teng. It was so cool to see her jump right into the dancing at the front of the stage. Everyone was having a great time. Go see The Ragbirds! In fact, you can catch them at the Ten Pound Fiddle Coffeehouse on Friday Jan 22, 2010 at the Erickson Kiva on the campus of Michigan State University. Don't miss them!
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Sunday brought our good friend, Linda Abar & The Neil Gordon Trio to the Main Stage. Neil is a wonderful jazz guitarist and he accompanies Linda perfectly. She was in great voice, fun stage presence and obviously had a good time. She did most of the songs on her CD, "Once Upon A Time" as well as some jazz standards...a great hour in the sun.
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We wandered a bit and made sure we caugth Daisy May Erlewine and Seth Bernard (yes, I know she dropped the "Daisy"..but not then). Great original songs...skillfully played by Seth and performed with honest enjoyment by the both of them. I really like these 2 and they are fond of the East Lansing audience as well. I'm sure Wanda Deegan will take note that Seth and Daisy deserve the Main Stage next year...it was packed!
There were many others that day, including Claudia Schmidt...but we could not do it all. This is my favorite outdoor festival of the year, mostly because we can sit really close and enjoy the performers enjoying themselves.
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The next weekend Nicky and I and a few others made the trek down to Chelsea to enjoy Jeff Daniels' "Purple Rose Theatre" and see, "Bleeding Red"...a very funny play about football (English football that is....soccer). Support Michigan theater!
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That's it till next time....

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

April's Fool







Have you ever seen John Latini? What a trip! John played at the Creole Gallery in Lansing on April Fool's Day to an appreciative crowd. I have known John for about 15 years and he has simply gotten better and better to the point where his award-winning songs and guitar-playing abilities have allowed him to, "quit his day job". He was fun, funny and plays wonderful guitar. Thanks John (Jonesy)!

This show was sponsored by the local radio station WLNZ from Lansing Community College and hosted by Lyn Peraino.
From John's website:
About John Latini
Winner of the 2008 Detroit Blues Challenge, John Latini is a multiple award winning veteran singer/songwriter, performer, and above all, entertainer whose energy and presence are infused so deeply in his music that every song, indeed every style, becomes his own. Growing up in a musical family in Queens, NY hearing everything from Hank Williams to Harry Belafonte, participating in the nightly guitar pull around the family table, and finally, seeing The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show sealed his fate. Since that time, the journey has been long and gratifying with explorations into many musical styles and collaborations with many great bands, players, songwriters and above all, friends. Through it all, the one constant remains John's ability to "deliver" the song. A captivating storyteller and an exciting performer, he compels you to watch and to listen.








You can see John all over Michigan. I hope he will drop by our All Saints Coffeehouse after performing with Jamie-Sue Seal at the "Silver Bells In The City" celebration in downtown Lansing Nov 20. Then, John and Jamie-Sue will be performing a benefit concert 7pm Sunday, Dec 20 at All Saints Episcopal Church. More to come on that in a future blog.
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Oh so much more in April...

Jumping to Monday, April 20, my good buddy, Ed Baker and I, rambled down to Ann Arbor to catch the venerable Bruce Cockburn for a solo show at The Ark.


Ed and I managed a stop at Zingerman's Deli....where I saw (I swear) a $64.00 carrott cake. Great food, expensive carrots!
Mr. Cockburn...this was the 4th time I have seen him, he is one of my heroes for many reasons not the least of which is his guitar playing and song-crafting. What I thought might be a night of all new material turned into a delightful balance of old and new. In fact, he encored with, "Wonderin Where The Dragons Are", a song I thought he long ago abandoned. It was wonderful. He is a master.
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Lest we have nothing else to do, Ed and I also went to see, "Steppin In It" w/ Shout Sister Shout at a WKAR TV studio taping (Backstage Pass) on Tuesday Apr 21. This was so much fun (in fact Nicky and I went to another taping of Joel Mabus and Ray Kamalay a little later this year...in a different post). It only seats 50 people...and Steppin In It are so popular they had to have another night to accommodate the fan request (it wasn't very well advertised by WKAR...and I don't blame them...this was an intimate atmosphere..yet still "sold" out (actually it was free...thank you WKAR!). The taping was for a series WKAR won't bring to the screen until Feb 11-May 13, 2010...so it was pretty cool to be a part of this now).






Steppin In It (Josh Davis and crew) are simply wonderful. They are clever, funny, and damn good musicians. Joe and Andy Wilson (yep, twins) are excellent players....of many instruments. from accordions to trumpets to Hohner Echo Harmonica to steel guitars they provide the eclectic sound of Steppin In It. Backed by Dominic Suchyta on double bass, Steppin In it provide an entirely entertaining night. Couple it with the unique atmosphere of a TV studio audience, it was a great night.


Did I mention Rachel Davis (I do believe she and Dominic are married...) was there? She is the "Shout Sister Shout" component of the group, occasionally joining them for a set of (some) standards and tunes that sound like standards. She is adorable to watch and a great singer. This set was very well received by the studio audience.

A great 2 days!

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Not to be outdone by pop/folk music, I was fortunate to perform on the Great Hall stage of the Wharton Center for the Performing Arts on MSU's campus with 250 other musicians
(MSU Symphony Orchestra, University Chorale, State Singers, and Choral Union,
Melanie Helton, soprano; Kurt Ollmann, baritone; and David Rayl, guest conductor) in a rendering of Vaughn Williams, "Dona Nobis Pacem". A beautiful piece and I think we did it very well.


The other piece was a world premiere of Hutcheson's, "The Silver Sword" an ancient fairy tale for chorus and orchestra. This was a unique work, filled with fairy tale images and percussive, descriptive singing. I do not think I will ever again sing, "Grashadoo"!
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What? There's more? Yep. Nothing much. Just, Lil 'ol "Carmen" by Bizet! On April 30 Nicky and I were fortunate enough to attend the Michigan Opera Company's production of "Carmen" at the Great Hall of the Wharton Center. We sat in the Grand Tier and as we approached our seats we noticed we would be sitting next to our good friends, Susan and Nico Gisholt! And right in front of us?...Jean and Will Maples. And not to be left out, Paulette Johnston was also there. A little All Saints viewing the not-so-saintly, "Carmen".
Powerful singing and great stage presence for the star of the show. I look forward to more opera, possibly Romeo and Juliet in the spring (2010).
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Well, April was unique....that's a lot of public performances and I enjoyed all of them. Next time we'll look at May...end of the academic year...a busy time in the Findley household.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

March Madness



Nicky and I had a wild March planned, live music/theater/comedy-wise that was curtailed a bit.

We started it all on March 1 with Tony Award-winning "Spring Awakening", the smash Broadway hit. From Wikipedia: "Set in late-nineteenth century Germany, it concerns teenagers who are discovering the inner and outer tumult of sexuality. The original play was banned in Germany due to its portrayal of masturbation, abortion, rape and suicide. In the musical, alt-rock is employed as part of the folk-infused rock score."


We thought the cast were particularly good, energetic. The music was wonderful regardless of a lack of identifiable tunes...you just went with it and it moved the story along. We enjoyed it very much. Saw it at the Wharton Center on MSU's campus.





Next up was our first live viewing of Robin Williams in concert. Well, he had his heart attack 3 days before our show and cancelled. We wish him a speedy recovery (his


website says the surgery went very well and he is expected to be fully recovered in 8 weeks). So, more to come if and when he returns to East Lansing.











Moving along to March 22 we saw the iconic, Jorma Kaukonen at the Ark in Ann Arbor for a sold-out, SRO show.





He has been touring with enormously-talented friend, Barry Mitterhof, the multi-instrumentalist whose proficiency with stringed instruments (especially the mandolin) was well received that night. The two of them play like old pals, checking each other out every now and then...small smiles on their faces. I will say this, Mr. Kaukonen is a man of few words. It was a terribly intimate show. They spoke infrequently and quietly. All the more time for playing. I couldn't even tell you all the songs they did but it was a technically brilliant night on the instruments and a soft, amusing experience when they shared stories. Hooray for Jorma!






The 31st saw the return of the Lion King to the Wharton Center. Admittedly it is the 3rd time Nicky and I have seen it (once in Toronto and once here at Wharton). The opening sequence of animal kingdom entry is still the most wonderful theatrical experience. This time we were watching the faces of the children around us. It was beautiful. They were jumping up and down...happily chattering away with their friends, thoroughly enjoying the moment. For me, virtually all the rest was a bit TOO familiar. Sorry, it just doesn't do much more...it is an exact replica of the movie, so, again, no surprises. All the actors were good and the human child Simba was very good.


Our All Saints Coffeehouse on the 20th was a low key affair. We somewhat had an Irish theme. One of the suggestions I received in February was to do Three Dog Night's version of, "Shambala". Well that just brought a wave of nostalgia for me and after viewing several old Three Dog Night videos on YouTube I put together 5 songs. It was a blast. (Thanks Marty Liphard....the tambourine lady!)


That was March. Of course there is more to come in April where I'll review Lansing Symphony's combined concert with the MSU Chorale and Women's Chorus, Bruce Cockburn at the Ark, Steppin In It and Shout Sister Shout at WKAR's Backstage Pass series (a LIVE TV audience...very cool, our own, "Soundstage"!), my own concert with the MSU Choral Union at the Wharton Center on April 25 and Jesus Christ Superstar at the Rosemont Theatre near Chicago on the 30th. Thanks for joining.


Steve

Saturday, February 28, 2009

2009 Ann Arbor Folk Festival, Part II


The second night of the musical extravaganza included the much-anticipated Pete Seeger. Much more to come on that note...heh, heh.

The early-goings brought 2 groups the author 
was unaware of and that is one of the reasons I attend these festivals... to hear new music (or at least music I had not heard before.  
And so it was with, "Misty Lyn and the Big Beautiful".  This was a fine group and Misty Lyn Bergeron sang and played her stuff...beautifully.  See this review of their debut: "For The Dead".
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Next up was a nifty guitarist, Luke Doucet and the White Falcon from Canada and they played an inspired 4 tracks that showed energy and originality.  Boy can this guy play!  He uses a that hollow-body Gretsch quitar which gives the sound 

of Dave Edmunds, Brian Setzer, that type.  As a guitar fan, I really enjoyed him.  I'm thinking (and this is often the case of certain groups) that this is best enjoyed live.

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To my surprise, the 3rd most-anticipated performers (behind Pete Seeger and Kris Kristofferson), Girlyman, came out next.  What can I say?  Much too little of them at this venue.  Have you heard them? We have been big fans since first seeing them supporting, The Indigo Girls at the Wharton Center on Michigan State University's campus several years ago (Fall of 2004).  They have precise, beautiful harmony.  They play their own instruments very well, with interesting layers of sound.  They have a fun stage banter showing kind souls, with funny stories (often stemming from tuning onstage...little ditties which entered their most recent 
release,"somewhere different now (live)").  They sang 4 quick songs...way too short, but then, that's what happens at the Festival, 
it is only intended to be a taste...you come back when they come back (which, unfortunately for me won't work since I will be on stage at the Great Hall of the Wharton Center on April 25 when Girlyman returns to the Ark.


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So, thinking Girlyman would close the first set of the night proved incorrect.  What joined the stage next was a musical family, headlined by the infamous, Pete Seeger.  His grandson- Tao Rodriguez-Seeger was the leader of this group, making sure things moved along.  Pete Seeger is 89 years old.  Wow.  He sang a couple verses by himself (and led us all in an achingly-slow version of, "Amazing Grace") but stayed with the group for their entire set.  The crowd was very much into whatever he said, did, asked, sang.  He was the hero of the evening...much love poured toward the stage, for sure.  The group also included Pete Seeger's friend's granddaughter, Sara Lee Guthrie (yes, Arlo Guthrie's daughter....Woody Guthrie's granddaughter) and her very talented husband, Johnny Irion (I was very fortunate to hear these 2 at the Ten Pound Fiddle Coffeehouse in East Lansing several years ago...great stuff).

It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Nicky and me to see this "father of American folk music"
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So the first set ended here and when we returned, so did Joe Pug.  He rendered another Dylan-like performance and admittedly the song did not do much for me...but the Friday night song did.  He's going to be around on the folk scene.
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Claire Lynch came out and did a short set of country music.  She had a crack band supporting her pleasant demeanor and we enjoyed her singing.  

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The Carolina Chocolate Drops entered the stage for a similar performance to Friday night with just as much fandom created.   They are a talented, funny, fun, group who had the whole audience on its feet.  Go see them live.

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The headliner for the second night of the Ann Arbor Folk Festival was Kris Kristofferson.  He came out with a guitar and a harmonica...and that's all.  That's all he needed.  Nicky is a BIG fan of this guy (and I honestly did not know just HOW BIG until that night).  Kristofferson has penned some of the best-known (and loved) tunes, from, "Me And Bobby McGee" to "Help Me Make It Through The Night" to "For The Good Times".  He did them all in a stripped-down, solo version which ached and hurt and helped and sounded wonderful. 

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Once again the Ann Arbor Folk Festival provided a litany of interesting performers...some you knew and some you didn't.  It was an entirely pleasant weekend (and it doesn't hurt to get away with your best friend every now and then, does it?).

Monday, February 23, 2009

Celtic Woman: Isle of Hope - Detroit 2/20/09






There was a good deal of excited build up to this touring event....the chance to see this incredible show we all see on PBS...live, right here in Detroit. Well, having been there I would say I was a minority; in that the show just did not do it for me...it did not MOVE me.




When I see these folks on TV it is a sublime experience. The touring company (and I suspect it is a matter of economics) is a stripped-down version of what you see on TV...4 principals, the perky fiddler, the creator-artistic director on piano, a VERY fine trio of core musicians on Guitar, Bass and Uillean pipes, 2 percussionists and 6 backup (3 male, 3 female) singers provide the music for the night. I guess I was foolish to think they would tour with an orchestra, but thought they might use a local one.




One of the highlights of the night was the resoundingly beautiful version of, "Danny Boy". The choice to end it on a beautifully-quiet, 4-part acapella verse was magic. Simply beautiful. Beinig a sucker for Enya, it was great to hear, "Orinoco Flow",...always liked it always will. I miss the wonderful principal who played harp...she sang beautifully and played harp well, as well. It would have added a layer to the show...as the show seems to need to give each singer their own "solo" and their own, "ensemble" number. They DO sing beautifully. Choice of songs? Some were....insipid...I mean, c'mon, they were dripping with sentiment and at one point my wife said, "Are they really going to sing Toby Keith"? Sometimes it seemed like we were at a fundamentalist service, where the next verse is raised up a half step in pitch to add pseudo-drama.




Because part of the Celtic Woman shows' charm is it's "earnestness"... it matters that much more to have a decent song with which to be earnest. Am I glad I went? Yes, I really wanted to see these fine singers and the man who created this entertainment magnet. I just wish it was, better.

Monday, February 16, 2009

2009 Ann Arbor Folk Festival, Part I



Here we were (my lovely bride, Nicky and me) at (I think we counted) our 14th Ann Arbor Folk Festival and the truth is, it continues to deliver a variety of current (and not-so-current...see next blog entry) folk music in all sub-genres, e.g. contemporary folk, alt-country, classic folk, singer-songwriter, Americana.

The Friday night line-up this year included local Ann Arbor favorites, the Ragbirds, and I think it is a tribute to the variety and excellence of the Ark (the recipient of the fundraising activity created by "thick" ticket prices...not a bad thing, no, just fine in fact) to include local artists. They get an opportunity to play before 3530 people (as opposed to the Ark's capacity of 400). The Ragbirds were a breath of fresh air...interesting and fun to listen to. Erin Zindle, the lead singer and player of a variety of instruments (incl fiddle, mandolin and banjo) was wonderful, had a great stage presence and lovely voice. I liked this band!

In the past, the order the groups play was carefully scripted to have less well-known artists play first and end the first part of the program with a "2nd billed" group. Then they return with better-known artists culminating in the headliner. This year proved similar and since we deal with a subjective topic (I might very-well like a group more than you but their ticket and CD sales may be lower than a higher-billed artist). I have to say, depending on who you talk to, the group ending the first half blew the doors out of Hill Auditorium...but more on that in a hot sec.

After the Ragbirds we were treated to 2 female singer-songwriters who were most enjoyable, Chelsea Williams and Katie Herzig. Their clear voices were beautiful and they individually chose to sing quiet, introspective songs...and Hill was dead quiet for them. They'll be back at the Ark this spring and I think the exposure they received will help fill the Ark when they return.

Then we saw the Ryan Montbleau Band...and in the liner notes of the program they list this group's leader as having similar songwriting skills to Martin Sexton and I would have to agree...the style was "Sexton-ish". The only issue for me, and heaven forbid I admit it, I don't enjoy Martin Sexton's style...his abbreviated deliver and percussive guitar-playing don't move me. Ryan Montbleau was enjoyed by the audience and that's what counts.

So, back to ending of the first set....can you say, "Old Crow Medicine Show"? Wow, what an excellent group...tight playing, great vocals, amusing lead singer...the whole package. It was apparent the audience was looking forward to this accomplished group of competent musicians. They kept shouting out, "Wagon Wheel"! Well, the OCMS finally did it and the place went wild. They were a major hit of the night for me and I look forward to seeing them again (after they return from New Zealand and Australia!). Highly recommended.






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I suppose I would be remiss if I did not mention the emcee, Jim Lauderdale, who admirably hosted both Friday and Saturday nights. If you have not been to the festival before, it takes about 5-10 minutes to change the setup on stage for the next performer and the MC either performs, or entertains with humor, or both (most preferable). Mr. Lauderdale is an accomplished musician, songwriter (having penned many songs for the likes of Geoge Strait, The Dixie Chicks and Patty Loveless. Jim Lauderdale has hosted the Americana Music Awards for three years in a row, and won their first Artist of the Year and Song of the Year awards in 2002, as well as a 2003 award for the albumHeaded for the Hills. His 2002 album, Lost in the Lonesome Pines, a collaboration with Ralph Stanley, won the Grammy for Bluegrass Album of the Year. His latest release, The Bluegrass Diaries won the Grammy for 2008 Bluegrass Album of the Year.

I tell ya, the fella can carry a Western outfit...he was decked out, both nights. I know one his big fans, Karen Miller of The Miller Tells Her Tale, would have loved this show.

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After the break, Joe Pug came out , by himself, and did one song...showing he has talent and a
somewhat creepy resemblance to Dylan...in looks and delivery. Great stuff, keep coming back Joe.

OK....so who the heck are these, "Carolina Chocolate Drops"?! The Ark says, "a group of young African-American stringband musicians who explore the rich tradition of fiddle and banjo music in the Carolina Piedmont". Lest you think that is too confining, this group had us all laughing one minute and indignant the next. I believe, at least Nicky and I thought, this group might be best at a place like the Ark...somewhere more intimate...but that in no way limits what they did on Friday (or Saturday for that matter...along with Joe Pug and the emcee Joe Lauderdale...were the only ones to do a repeat performance). It was a folk festival favorite for sure and the song Rhiannon Giddens sang about a cheatin' man....whoa! It was awesome! Sticks-playing and some jelly-like dancing made the Carolina Chocolate Drops a joy to experience. Thanks you Drops.

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Headliner Jeff Tweedy came out to do a solo gig....taking a break form his band, the highly successful and brilliant, Wilco. Tweedy has a bit of a reputation as an antagonistic performer, sometimes talking back to the audience (hey, I do not blame him...I remember going to a concert of Al DiMeola, John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucia....a real treat of acoustic guitar virtuosos...and in the second set Al diMeola stopped playing, looked up to the audience an implored, "Hey folks, this is beautiful music...let's let everyone hear it"....he did this because so many people were talking loudly) due to the heckling he receives. Cetainly he brings it on himself, as witnessed this night. But, so what. The guy is great. He writes interesting songs in both music and lyrics. He can make you cry, laugh at yourself, and feel your life. He played a whole bunch of songs, keeping close watch on the time (as evidenced by his comment, "You have to keep going at this gig, it's like they have the time Nazis on you."). I like this guy and REALLY like Wilco but I do not know anyone who likes Jeff Tweedy like my friend Bob K does. Check it out...he went to the concert Tweedy did in Kalamazoo, Michigan the night before this. http://www.youtube.com/user/wachkiller.

The Ann Arbor Folk Festival is a treat. Nicky and I had a really good time, even staying in AA after this show so we didn't have to drive back to East Lansing and back to AA again. I'll blog the second night of the festival next. See ya. Steve


Monday, January 19, 2009

The Musical Box...genesis of a treat




Admittedly, when you are a fan (or fanatic, which Dictionary.com defines as: a person with an extreme and uncritical enthusiasm or zeal) it is sometimes difficult to separate truth from fact....OK, it ALWAYS difficult to separate truth from fact when you are truly a follower of something or someone (Obama, anyone?). So what is said here is the result of a concert viewing by someone who loves Genesis music and will see a cover band 8 times who re-creates this music. Of course I'd like you to see for yourself, but if you cannot get to a show, try this YouTube selection (what did we do before YouTube?):



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Is1oTQj5gRk&feature=related







This show of, "The Musical Box" (http://www.themusicalbox.net/) was a song-for-song playing of the 1976-77 tour of the "Trick of the Tail" album. The show had this amazing setlist:



DANCE ON A VOLCANO

THE LAMB LIES DOWN ON BROADWAY

FLY ON A WINDSHIELD

CARPET CRAWLERS

CINEMA SHOW

ROBBERY, ASSAULT AND BATTERY

WHITE MOUNTAIN

FIRTH OF FIFTH

ENTANGLED

SQUONK

SUPPER’S READY

I KNOW WHAT I LIKE

LOS ENDOS

IT/WATCHER OF THE SKIES




The Musical Box enacted the same set list Genesis did when they first toured this album...the album and tour that brought Phil Collins from behind the drum kit to the spotlight, where he has never left. Not wanting to alienate earlier Genesis fans, the band made sure (and MUCH to my and my concert-mates' delight) to include tracks from previous LPs...including the gem, "White Mountain" from Trespass (a pre-Collins album which included my daughter's favorite, "The Knife"). They did the "Lamb Lies Down on Broadway", "Carpet Crawlers" and "It" from the Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. The Musical Box also played 3 favorites from Selling England By The Pound, "Cinema Show", "I Know What I Like" and the very-well-done (WITH piano solo) "Firth of Fifth". These 3 were my introduction to Genesis from a friend in 1974.

Labeled, "A Trick of the Tail" tour is a little misleading since they managed 5 of the 8 songs off the album...Genesis themselves did not do "Ripples" until the 1977 tour. But 5 of 8 is 5 new songs to the fan. All were enjoyable, authentic re-creations....great stuff.

Many bands have that "one song" that people always ask for (think "Free Bird" by Lynyrd Skynyrd) and Genesis' most requested song is the 23 minute epic, "Supper's Ready". Thanks to the Musical Box we were able to hear this done to a tee...including the laser light which debuted during this tour. Awesome.

Having said what great music it is and how much I and my companions liked it, there is one drawback I cannot ignore....due to (among other things) the halls the Musical Box chooses to play in, they generally serve alcohol and it appears that alcohol-serving and the crowds that attend these concerts, don't mix. Now that's me saying it...perhaps from some of thoses that partake to excess or simply partake and TALK INCESSANTLY, they think it's just great. I do not..it does nothing but detract from my enjoyment of a live performance. I would argue (and yes, a little bit of snobery) that this would not happen in England. I have been to >10 concerts there and one of the strange things for an American (of the rock and roll era) to witness is the British youth's willingness to sit quietly through soft or low-volume songs or parts of songs. There, I said it. Enough.



So here is my modest (naw, simply terrible) attempt at a little video of the real thing...I was there.

video

A shout out to Steve and Dawn....you would have loved this show.

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Coming up is the All Saints Coffeehouse this Friday, January 23 from 7:30 to 9:30 pm. This is an opportunity to play and/or sing live. You can do sing alongs, poetry, skits...we are not choosy and are quite an appreciative audience. This week we are doing our prelude to "RAIN - The Beatles Experience" which many of us will attend on Feb 15 at the Wharton Center in East Lansing. Much of the docket will be Beatles music....and what could be better than that. So come along and join us.

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It's Chanticleer at the Wharton on Sunday the 25th and the Ann Arbor Folk Festival on Jan 30 and 31 at Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor. Busy times for live music in the Mid Michigan area.

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I'll see you at a show.

Steve

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Off to Chicago...Genesis of a concert


We're off to Chicago for a concert of a cover band. Why go to Chicago for a cover band? Because it is the Musical Box, the band that performs early Genesis music (and concerts) with a fine nod to detail.

I've seen this group 7 times since 2001 and have enjoyed amazing re-creations of "Selling England By The Pound" and "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" tours of Genesis (from 1973-75). Now they are touring with, "A Trick of the Tail"...the first "post-Peter Gabriel" concert tour of 1976 (Gabriel left the band in 1975). Nicky and I saw this tour at the Auditorium in Chicago in 1977...I remember running up the stairs to the sounds of, "Dancing On A Volcano" ringing through the staircase. We drove up from the University of Illinois in Champaign.

So, tomorrow night, Jan 16 we will see it again. Great stuff! I'll report later...