Archive for March, 2010


Goin’ Phishin’!

Many of us experienced a wave of joy when Phish announced they were reuniting one year ago.  That joy spread during their summer tour last year, during the “8” Festival on Halloween weekend, their late Fall tour (the Albany shows are reviewed here), and most recently, seeing them play two Genesis songs during the 2010 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.  Well now that joy threatens to consume us all, as it’s time for another summer Phish tour!  They are concentrating on the Midwest and East coast, but those of you out west can catch them for 3 nights in Berkeley, CA or a couple of Colorado shows.  The list of dates is here (click on the movie in the center of the screen):

But for those of us who can’t wait until summer to get our Phish phix, there’s good news!  The aforementioned “8” Festival in Indio, CA took place on October 30, 31 and Nov. 1 of last year, and featured Phish’s very first all-acoustic set, and for their Halloween album performance, they covered the Rolling Stones’ masterpiece Exile on Main Street in its entirety.  Lucky for us, they were filming the shows, and now in what seems like a “highlight reel” format, they have condensed the performances into a 2-hour movie…in 3D!  Preview screenings will be held in 9 select cities on April 20th (that’s 4/20 for those of you who see the connection), and then the film will be released nationwide for one week.  Check out the trailer:

Phish in 3D on a movie screen followed by Phish in actual 3D on tour – it’s gonna be a good Spring and Summer!


2010 Iron Maiden North American Tour

Holy cow!  Yes, this should be a tour of tours for 2010 and I do hope they plan on playing in Albany, NY and not just NYC (Madision Square Garden).

Dream Theater will be the warming up act, not too shabby and should make for a fun show indeed.  The following tour dates are all I have at this time!


Tour dates for the Iron Maiden/Dream Theater run are as follows:

Wed June 9th – Dallas, TX – Center
Fri June 11th – Houston, TX – The Woodlands
Sat June 12th – San Antonio, TX – AT&T Center
Mon June 14th – Denver, CO – Fiddler’s Green Amphitheater
Wed June 16th – Albuquerque, NM – Journal Pavilion
Thurs June 17th – Phoenix, AZ – Cricket Pavilion
Sat June 19th – San Bernardino, CA – San Manuel Amphitheater
Sun June 20th – Concord, CA – Sleep Train Pavilion
Tues June 22nd – Auburn, WA – White River Amphitheater
Thurs June 24th – Vancouver, BC – GM Place
Sat June 26th – Edmonton, AB – Rexall Place
Tues June 29th – Saskatoon, SK – Credit Union Centre
Sat July 3rd – Toronto, ON – Molson Amphitheater
Wed July 7th – Montreal, QC – Bell Centre
Sun July 11th – Holmdel, NJ – PNC Bank Arts Center
Mon July 12th – New York City – Madison Square Garden
Wed July 14th – Pittsburgh, PA – Post Gazette Pavilion
Thurs July 15th – Cleveland, OH – Blossom Music Center
Sat July 17th – Detroit, MI – DTE Music Theatre
Sun July 18th – Chicago, IL – First Midwest Bank Amphitheater
Tues July 20th – Washington DC – Nissan Pavilion


Watcher of the TV: 2010 rock & roll Hall of Fame

Normally I eschew award ceremonies (other than the Oscars), but last night I found myself intrigued by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction proceedings, which aired on the Fuse Network (whatever the heck that is).  Being inducted were Genesis, the Stooges, the Hollies, Jimmy Cliff and ABBA, along with some songwriters and music mogul David Geffen.  My initial interest stemmed from one of my favorite bands, Phish, inducting Genesis, another of my all-time favorites (at least during the Peter Gabriel years and early post-Peter years).  The show opened with Phish playing the Genesis classic “Watcher of the Skies,” and it was flawless:

Genesis has had a unique career – with Gabriel, they were a theatrical progressive rock band, known as much for their long, complex compositions as they were for Gabriel’s on-stage costumes and performance art-like expressions.  Following his departure, the band found enormous commercial success with mainstream pop hits year after year, with drummer Phil Collins now captaining the ship.  Phish recognized that era of the band as well, playing “No Reply at All” after singer Trey Anastasio officially inducted the band and Collins, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and Steve Hackett gave short speeches.  I had heard that Gabriel would not be attending – the official excuse was that he is planning a European tour…but I think it’s safe to say that I’ll never see a complete Genesis reunion show, something that is on my musical “bucket list” (if there is such a thing).

The Stooges had a very profound influence on the punk movement – and they still have that punk attitude and raw power in their music.  Iggy Pop gyrated around the stage, shirtless, in his rubber-limbed style.  And then, quite poignantly, he headed into the crowd during “I Wanna Be Your Dog” – it was a very punk image, seeing Iggy bop around in front of older, stuffy tuxedoed folks who seemed a little uncomfortable but tried to keep smiling.

But the most amazing part of the show revolved around Jimmy Cliff, the Jamaican reggae star.  I was not familiar with much of his music, but I knew he was almost as important as Bob Marley in terms of his bringing reggae music and Jamaican culture to the rest of the world.  As they showed clips of his performances during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, I began to realize that his brand of reggae was fairly unique – there was a lot more soul and R&B infused into his music, almost like a cross between Motown and reggae.  Cliff’s stage presence was also very entertaining – part James Brown, part Elvis.  I was captivated.  After Wyclef Jean inducted him and Cliff gave a very humble, slow-paced speech, he took the stage…and blew me away.  The first song was “You Can Get it if You Really Want it,” a somewhat straight-forward, high-energy reggae song, but Cliff’s voice was great as he danced around the stage.  He followed that with a slower tune called “Many Rivers to Cross.”  His voice was so amazing, so soulful and passionate – he made Marvin Gaye sound like Tiny Tim. By the end, I’m not ashamed to admit, I was nearly moved to tears.  It really was that good.  Wyclef then joined him on stage for “The Harder They Come,” a fantastic upbeat number.  The crowd gave Cliff a huge ovation, deservedly so.  I immediately purchased “Jimmy Cliff: In Concert” online, and it’s terrific.  I’ve never been a big fan of reggae, but I’m now a huge Jimmy Cliff fan.

Finally, I’m pretty apathetic when it comes to ABBA, so I barely paid attention during their segment on the show (only two of the members attended).  But then keyboardist Benny Anderson went to the piano and Faith Hill sang “The Winner Takes it All”:

It was a fantastic performance – best ABBA ever, for me anyway.
And that’s what I thought of last night’s festivities.  Happy listening.


Dream Theater – A video worth watching!

I came upon this little gem the other day and felt that it would be fun to post.  These guys are incredible and what fun it must be to create this stuff.  I’m very impressed having never found them worth taking the time to listen to, but I’m changing my mind.  Granted, I’m not overly thrilled with the lyrics, the instrumental portion is fantastic.  Check it out and tell us what you think.


Reverend Horton Heat Tour 2010!

Per The Reverend Horton Heat website there are a slew of new dates that have been added for Summer 2010; included on the list is Hi-Fi’s hometown of Albany, NY on Sunday, May 23rd @ Northern Lights (Clifton Park, NY).  God knows we’ve been in need of some Rockabilly for sometime so in May we get our revival!

I’ve been to several RHH shows and I’ve never been dissapointed; always high energy, long sets and great encor’s.  The ticket prices have become a bit steep at $25 but I’m willing to shell it out for these guys, especially since I know that these guys play for every penny, trust me.

If you have not done yourself the service of seeing this true Rockabilly legend, please do.  Warming up on this tour are the bands Cracker and Miss Derringer.  Personally, I’m not thrilled with the warm up acts; my advice would be grab dinner and some beers prior to the show and arrive when The Rev hits the stage.  If Nashville Pussy, Backyard Tire Fire, SuperSuckers or Tiger Army were warming up, I would be there way early.  Cracker is the band that had the hits Euro-Trash Girl and Low in 1993; and I believe the members are ex-Camper Von Beethoven guys so it might be ok to catch, but I’m still not impressed, sorry.

Regardless, all the matters is that RHH is coming and I’ve been waiting.  Here’s the link for the touring schedule for The Rev, enjoy!


the Aquabats 2010 Tour!

Yes, it’s true The Aquabats are on tour and hopefully coming to a venue near you!  I saw these guys years ago in Boston and loved the show; fun surf rock with a corny stageshow and worth every penny.  With band members with names like MC Bat Commander, Crash McLarson, Eagle “Bones” Falconhawk, Jimmy The Robot, and Ricky Fitness you’ve got to expect it’s going to be at the very least entertaining, right?

They’ve been hiding out for a year or more not touring so I’m sure they will be full of energy on stage with each gig they will play.  I don’t see New York on their tour as of yet, but I’m hopeful.   If you have kids and have had a chance to watch the show Yo Gabba Gabba they’ve been on quite a bit. 

If you dig ska/surf rock bands like Los Straitjackets, you’ll like these guys too. If you get a chance to see these guys please do and tell us about it.  Here is the link of where they are currently touring for 2010, click here.

If you’ve seen them before, let us know what you have thought of their shows.


Nixon’s Spirit – 3/4/10 @ Valentine’s (Albany, NY)

Well, I’m not one to normally review local gigs but I felt that tonight a band was worthy of one; or at least to a degree. Rarely do I venture out on a week night these days to head to a local dive to watch local talent, often the local talent is well, untalented to be quite honest. However, having played in a band for several years while living in Boston I do appreciate the dreamers on stage putting forth as much effort as they can to possibly be “the next big thing” ; and most will eventually realize that it’s near impossible.

Sadly, in Albany the capital city of New York State, there is only one remaining real place for indie bands and the occasional punk band to play and that would be Valentine’s. Valentine’s has been around since I was in high school in the 80’s; interestingly enough they have remained while others have come and gone. It’s a cozy dive, with very little room to have a real show (perhaps 60 patrons max if they are lucky) and the sound quality is so-so; basically if you don’t have ear plugs you are asking for ringing ears for hours afterwards. The door guy was friendly and the bar maid nice enough, although she seemed far more entranced to finishing her copy of “Twilight” rather than actually smoozing with those of us at the bar.

The band that I went to see is named Nixon’s Spirit, a self proclaimed punk rock band that was offering new music that night for us to hear. Upon entering the bar it was your typical Thursday night gig in the winter, dreadfully empty.  Man did it bring back painful memories of when I use to gig out in Boston and my band would get a third spot in the line up on a tuesday night during a snowstorm.  The result was often a painful turnout and a bar owner (TT The Bears Place specifically) giving me the evil eye and asking the question, “I thought you guys said you could draw people?”; ugh!  To add insult to injury we would never get paid and often find a $50 parking ticket on the U-Haul van we rented that night.

Suprisingly the clubs in Albany are far more understanding and polite; Nixon’s Spirit was supposed to go on at 9:00 but I was informed that the singer would not arrive until 9:30. I was in amazement that the bar was cool about it. In Boston if you are expected to go on at 9:00 it mean’s 9:00 and you have exactly a 45 minute set, no flexibility whatsoever.  So, if you’re singer doesn’t show up…tough shit, play since the clocks ticking! I was shocked that everyone was so layed back about this gig starting later. Granted, you have to keep in mind that at the time there were literally only 5 people in the bar at the time; clearly  noone was getting rowdy for the headliner to go on any time soon.

Nixon’s Spirit did eventually go on and the first few songs were mediocre at best; the singer seemed off and the band still in the mode of warming up. The band became much tighter by the third song (but I could not tell you what the name of the first three were)  yet the lead singer was far more focused on drinking his beer than interacting with those of us in attendance. This was a facet I found odd, for much of the time the singer seemed to want to have his back to the audience and sing his song’s to his band; much of the first part of the gig seemed like we were mererly spectators at a rehearsal space.  Perhaps that’s being punk rock, right?

It was my understanding after talking to the bass player (Chris Cappadozy) that this gig was merely a last minute thing that they were using simply to test new material and see what worked and what did not. I have to admit that as the evening wore on the band got tighter and the song’s became more appealing to listen to; especially songs like 58,000 and 8 and X-Rated Man.  These songs had a very catchy punk rock rhythm and clearly the crowd dug what they were hearing.  The band ended the night with a song called Substance Abuse and it was ok, but not great. 

Nixon’s Spirit has potential, I really do think that if the refined their sound and picked particular songs from their catalog to play at live shows they would gain fans rather quickly.  If you are in the Albany area and have a chance to catch these guys playing, take a chance and check them out.

You can learn more about Nixon’s Spirit by clicking here


the jazz soul of little stevie

One of the greatest things about music is when you discover something that you never even knew existed, and it turns out to be a wonderful piece of ear candy.  I’m a big fan of Stevie Wonder – to be more specific, I’m a big fan of his music from the 1970’s.  His 60’s Motown stuff is ok – “For Once in My Life,” “Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day,” etc…I’m not a fan of his 80’s work and beyond.  But those 70’s albums – Music of My Mind, Talking Book, Innervisions, Fulfillingness’ First Finale, and Songs in the Key of Life, Vol. 1 – are phenomenal works of R&B, funk and soul.

I have little knowledge of his very early career, when he was known as “Little Stevie.”  The only experience I’d had was from seeing his performance of “Fingertips, Pt. 2” in TV clips.  It’s a great tune, somewhat jazzy but more R&B-sounding.  Until the other night I never had any inkling of curiosity as to whether there was a “part one” to “Fingertips.”  Turns out there is!  It’s from Wonder’s first album called “The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie,” recorded when he was only 11 years old.  I bought the album, and it’s a marvelous addition to any jazz fan’s collection.  Stevie co-wrote two of the songs, and plays all the drums, percussion, harmonica, piano and keyboards on the album…11 years old!  This is a true jazz album – all instrumental as well, save for a few hoots and hollers on a couple of songs.  “Fingertips” features great drumming as well as groovy horn playing.  The flute is featured on this track and several others as well, which for some reason is distinctive to me as typical of 60’s jazz.  “Square” features the classic Wonder harmonica sound, and “Soul Bongo” reeks of Puerto Rican-influenced salsa-style jazz.  “Manhattan at Six” has a similar sound, featuring a percussion jam mixed with high energy piano work.  “Paulsby” is light on its feet, with Stevie’s harmonica floating on the breeze, along with a nifty organ section.  Things slow down a bit with “Some Other Time,” but kick back up with “Wondering,” featuring quick organ playing and some horn scatting.  The album closes with two similar numbers, “Session Number 11” and “Bam.”  Both have nice mellow jazz grooves, slinking through piano and harmonica exchanges, with some nice sax work on “Bam.”

It’s a short album, clocking in at just about 30 minutes, but for jazz fans and early Stevie Wonder fans, I’m calling it a must-have.

The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie gets 4.5 out of 5 stars!

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