Saturday, May 28, 2011

Thoughts on Gil Scott-Heron...

The wound of his passing is too raw and fresh at this point, and the salient facts of his life will be better told in other places, (NPR for instance), but I need to take a minute to spin some thoughts on the late Gil Scott-Heron.

If you're new to the party, you might start with this great show from NYC's Bottom Line in '77, (courtesy of the always reliable Aquarium Drunkard blog). Make a date with YouTube, and you can get up to speed very quickly.

In short, he was our beacon in that time before hip hop, if one can imagine such a thing, and when it turned out that hip hop might not necessarily be keeping all of its promises, he found a second wind, and came back again to remind us of what was important.

As seems to always be the case, as soon as he was back in business, Life made other plans for him.

'I'm New Here', (XL Recordings from 2010), was only 30 minutes long, but fraught with the detail of a life lived hard, and was a deeper biography in that short time than the many hundred pages tomes that clog the shelves today.

The voice aged from smooth and supple to cracked but still authoritative, and most nights the skies are cloudy, but every now and then the clouds will part, and I'll see that particular star, the one that makes the vastness feel a little less lonely...

GIL SCOTT-HERON (1949-2011)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Wall of Noise: No Joy live

Muddy Waters,
Santa Barbara, CA
03 May, 2011

No Joy (from Montreal) made an appearance at the homey Muddy Waters in Santa Barbara, taking the opening slot for the Vivian Girls. They wasted no time, blowing right into what might be their strongest song, the title track of the LP, Ghost Blonde (released last November on Mexican Summer).
From there, they proceeded to ratchet up the energy, with no time wasted on small talk, just the exhilerating wall of noise that they conjured up.

Before you knew it, they were unplugging guitars and coiling up cables, while the crowd stood stunned.
Their work here was done.

I've been over it in my head a few times since, and rarely have i seen an opening band totally control a crowd with such a concentrated burst. Truly look forward to seeing them in the future.

Sidenote: Curious how many miles the trusty van w/Quebec plates (parked behind the drummer) has logged...

Thursday, May 5, 2011



It was a gathering of the tribes for Mudhoney at the Echoplex (beneath the Echo) on a Sunday night that history will remember for a whole lot more...

White Flag opened the proceedings, dialing it back to the early '80's in both spirit and execution, turning in a hearty set of loud fast rules...

The Adolescents filled the middle with an intense set of more political minded, but just as spiky tunes, very well played.

For the main event, Mudhoney spread the love across their whole catalogue, not stinting on their major songs, but seeming to pull something from all of their albums. Speaking of turning the clocks back, they've lost none of their fire, and the pace was relentless...

Turnout was not all it could have been, with plenty of walking room in the back, especially considering the depth & breadth of the bill, and the lack of bodies packed in gave the sound an extra wobble, but the band perservered, and everything that went into the grinder came out Mudhoney.

Setlist (courtesy of the Mudhoney page linked above):
You Got it, Suck You Dry, Inside Job, This Gift, Into the Drink, F.D.K., Hard-on for War, When Tomorrow Hits/In 'N' Out of Grace, Sweet Young Thing, Judgment Rage..., No One Has, Good Enough, Touch Me I'm Sick, The Open Mind, The Lucky Ones, Next Time, I'm Now, Tales of Terror
Encore: Sonic Infusion, Who You Drivin' Now?, Hate the Police, Fix Me
Notes: They drop 'Blinding Sun,' from the encore because Steve has been ripping up his fingers playing it the previous two nights.