Posts Tagged ‘dave matthews

10
Jan
11

Dave Matthews and Friends (Boston 2003)

I’ve never been one to be obsessed about live concerts about my favorite musicians; often I have made the point not to buy anything live since it seems like a marketing ploy or filler album for the artist; buying them time since to release anything of substance at a later date. 

Recently, and in my old age, I’ve come to appreciate the art of the live concert and what gems they can provide with enlightening the listener with new perpectives and opinions about the artist.  Last month I posted my new discovery of the live music repository Nugs.net and the incredible vast assortment of live material recorded free to the masses; better yet is that the recordings were made directly off the soundboards, so the quality is near perfect!

This might be where my disdain for live shows may have root; the quality.  Back in high school the only live recordings you could get of shows were either the ones the artist released or some bootleg recording made with a hand held tape recorder (yes, I’m that old!).  I recall one trip to NYC in the West Village there was actaully a store (I think on MacDougall) that sold bootleg concert tapes; I think I picked up some random Rush and Van Halen shows and dreaded my purchase all the way home; that was the first and last time I invested in live material.

Yes, there have been the random quality live releases such as Rush’s first live album, 1976’s  “All The Worlds A Stage” and Peter Frampton “Frampton Comes Alive” (but to be honest “Do You Feel Like I Do” and “Show Me The Way” are the only two songs that anyone really remembers, the remainder of the album is not very impressive).  But really I cannot recall any live shows that really were worth the investment long term.  Of course, my new found interest in Phish has changed much of my opinion; Phish’s “A Live One” and “Hampton Comes Alive” are great examples of  incredible live material, but then with technology changing and also Phish taking true “pride in ownership” about their sound, they have redefined why live shows have merit and provide lasting listening pleasure.  The catalog of live Phish that LivePhish.net offers is astounding; and 99.9% is recorded directly off the boards; each show is a quality listening experience.

Although there are many incredible shows available on Nugs.net (I believe a sister site of LivePhish.net), the one I have been listening to non-stop has been the Dave Matthews and Friends show at the FleetCenter in Boston 2003.  Of course having lived in Boston for over a decade, the old Boston Garden has taken on too many names due to greedy corporate sponsorship, I think today it is called the “TD Banknorth Boston Garden North Station Thingy” or something like that, ugh.

The show is a culmination of various artists joining Dave on stage as he released his first solo album entitled Some Devil.  The biggest hit off of this album was “Grave Digger”, but during the concert he plays a plethora of both old and new material; some new solo work and classics from his well known band.  One of the highlights are the songs he plays with longtime friend Tim Reynolds; songs like “Dancing Nancies” and “Typical Situation” are just so well done that you find yourself listening to them over and over.   Matthews is accompanied by the legendary Emmy Lou Harris on songs like “Save Me” and “Oh Sister and the meloncoly sounds of both artists create a tempo that compliments both artists styles.  Trey from Phish accompanies Matthews on classics such as The Bands “Down on Cripple Creek” and Billy Preston’s classic  “Will It Go Round In Circles”.   It is a gem of a show and the sound quality is second to none.

You can download the show for free on Nugs.net (look at the top right of the home page “Free Stash” and scroll down to Dave Matthews and Friends) it is a two-set download and well worth your time, trust me.

We here at HiFi Central are curious on what you think about this show and about Nugs.net; have you found a show that is your favorite?

27
Jan
10

Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King

It’s an awfully wordy title for an album, but there is a story behind the Dave Matthews Band’s choice of moniker.  “Big Whiskey” comes from a street performer in New Orleans who was asking for money so he could get some “big whiskey,” and “GrooGrux King” is a nickname for the band’s late sax player LeRoi Moore.  It’s the first studio album in over 4 years for the DMB, and features a few lineup changes; Jeff Coffin has taken over saxophone duties, and guitarist Tim Reynolds, a long-time friend of Dave Matthews, does some work as well.  Touring member Rashwan Ross is also featured, adding his trumpet to the mix.  Keyboardist Butch Taylor is absent, as he left the band in 2008.

After a short saxophone introduction by the late Moore, the album gets rolling with a couple of rocking numbers – Shake Me Like a Monkey has some nice funk-rock grooves and flamboyant horns, and Funny the Way It Is features a catchy rock melody, coupled with some not-so-deep philosophical lyrics like

“Funny the way it is
If you think about it
One kid walks ten miles to school
Another’s droppin’ out.”

Both tracks, while certainly DMB in their overall sound, resonate differently than the band’s past recordings, possibly due to the addition of Reynolds’ guitar work.  The ballads Lying in the Hands of God and Baby Blue feature the more familiar (and unfortunately “adult contemporary”) DMB sound, with Matthews’ sweet voice carrying the tunes.  Why I Am has a catchy, radio-friendly pop riff.  This song could be considered the title track to the album, featuring the lyrics

“We’ll be drinking big whiskey while we dance and sing
And when my story ends it’s gonna end with him
Heaven or hell I’m going there with the GrooGrux King.”

Dive In is another slower number, though it also contains some layered guitar work, and paints a lyrical picture of the effects of global warming.  Spaceman has a retro DMB feel to it; rhythm and blues mixed with a little banjo, and Matthews’ strangely melodic vocals.  Squirm is the best and most interesting track on the album; some dark melodies and great drum work by Carter Beauford, reminiscent of their masterpiece The Last Stop.  Boyd Tinsley’s violin work is also prominently showcased as part of an orchestral layer to the track.  Alligator Pie sounds just like its name might suggest – it evokes a swampy, New Orleans-esque southern groove, with Matthews leading the way with his high-energy scat-like vocals and banjo plucking by featured musician Danny Barnes.  Seven is a little scattered, but has some funky horn work.  Time Bomb segues from slow-tempo verses to a loud, rollicking finish with Matthews’ trademark, impassioned howl, like someone holding back their rage until finally unleashing it upon our eardrums.  The upbeat You and Me closes the album, a mid-tempo, melodic song of optimism that actually leads into a hidden track, another short saxophone number by the late Moore.

Where “Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King” fits into the catalog of DMB albums remains to be seen.  It certainly has a unique sound to it – the band has kept their core identity but has added some new touches.  Maybe we could dub this new incarnation Dave Matthews Band 2.0?  The bottom line is that the album should appeal to both hardcore and casual DMB fans alike.

Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King gets 3 out of 5 stars!




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