Posts Tagged ‘suzy greenberg

13
Dec
11

Mike Gordon show review: 12/11/11, Albany NY

Mike tunes up at the Egg

Isn’t it great when things turn out even more awesome than you ever expected? This is exactly what happened at the Egg in Albany on Sunday night, as Mike Gordon (best known as being the bass player for Phish) and his band blew the doors off the place with three hours of incredibly diverse music, long, intense jamming, and just plain fun. The theater was about 75% full of Phish heads (it might have been more had the show been on a Friday or Saturday), and the small venue provided an intimate setting for the final show of the band’s brief fall tour.

Gordon and guitarist Scott Murawski, Brooklyn drummer Todd Isler, keyboard player Tom Cleary, and percussionist Craig Myers started things off with Horizon Line, which turned into a long jam segment that featured a lot of tempo changes, dueling solos between Murawski and Cleary, and most unexpectedly, moments of dark, progressive sounds that blew me away. From what I’ve heard of Gordon’s solo work, it’s fairly mellow with a slant toward country/bluegrass, jazz and rock. This show explored vast soundscapes of varying textures and themes – it was far more than I ever expected. The Phish song Only a Dream followed, and the band once again jammed out the middle section, taking the song to new heights and arrangements that made the studio version of the song seem even more insignificant. I’m Deranged, The Way it Goes, Just a Rose, Voices, and River Niger kept the first set rolling, with most of the songs continuing the jamming and overall magic; some of the jams did lose momentum and probably went on a little longer than necessary, but that was far from the norm. The band then did a great version of Marvin Gaye’s Baby Don’t You Do It, keeping the soul of the original in tact but giving it a more intense, country rock feel, with Cleary passionately hammering out the vocals. Then they segued back into Horizon Line to bookend the set, which clocked in at about 90 minutes.

Scott Murawski and Tom Isler

After a brief intermission, the crowd roared back to life with the opening notes of Funky Bitch, a Son Seals song that Phish has played hundreds of times. Gordon’s band’s version was fairly close to Phish’s version, but different just enough that it didn’t feel like we were watching a Phish cover band. The Phishiness continued with Gordon’s tune Sugar Shack (from Phish’s Joy album), with Murawski easily handling the guitar melodies and jamming it out a bit. Then they played a cover that I never could have predicted (although if I knew Mike Gordon’s solo history better I might not have been as surprised) – Hand in My Pocket by Alanis Morissette. I’ve never been a big fan of Alanis, but I’ve never really disliked her either, and Hand in My Pocket is actually one of her songs that I do enjoy. The band rocked the hell out of it, with Murawski belting out the vocals with great passion and intensity. Dig Further Down, Crumblin’ Bones, Skin It Back, and Hap Nappy continued the terrific set, with all band members firing on all cylinders as the jams kept going. Gordon announced that the final song was dedicated to a longtime friend in the audience, a song they played together in high school – the Who’s Don’t Get Fooled Again. It was a good version, a fun way to end the set.

The Dude of Life!!!

For die-hard Phish fans, the encore was by far the highlight of the night. An additional microphone was brought to the stage, leading everyone to assume a guest vocalist would be joining the band. It turned out to be none other than Steve Pollack, a.k.a the Dude of Life. Pollack has been collaborating with Phish from the very beginning, and on Sunday he graced us with his presence for a song he wrote with Phish, Suzy Greenberg – the crowd was bouncing off the ceiling.

The whole show was a wonderful surprise for me. I expected a more laid back, moody and offbeat show, much like Gordon’s solo albums. But the jams went to crazy places I never imagined, and Murawski, who many know from the band Max Creek, is in fact a guitar god. He would go from dark riffs to lightning-fast solos with the utmost precision and clarity; his grooves were so impressive and crucial to the overall sound of the band. He was a genuine joy to hear – I’ll have to check out Max Creek now. I’m looking forward to seeing Phish in the near future, but when Gordon brings his act to town again, you can bet I’ll be there too.

Mike Gordon at the Egg gets 4.5 out of 5 stars!

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19
Nov
10

Crunchy Phish Nuggets – Tasty indeed!

With the recent launch of HiFi Radio we have received several inquiries about the live Phish materials available on the player.  Well, to be quite honest, we are at the mercy of what Playlist.com has available to chose from and so, we really know about as much as you do when and where the shows were recorded.

One of the highlights is the live version of “Gotta Jiboo”; it is one of my personal favorite live versions and I was at a loss of when and where this was recorded.  I did concede to my fellow HiFi reviewer Ericstraus but he provided a moment of clarity by responded “dude, it could be from anywhere!  Do you know how many versions of that song live exist…there are some diehards who may know, but not me that’s for sure”. 

I was bummed and troubled, however, I was determined to find out.  A cool thing about Playlist.com and the music they offer you to build your personal player with also provides a link to where the song was uploaded from; many times it appears to be blogs that once offered the song for free download and then took them off for one reason or another.

Luckily, the version of “Gotta Jiboo” was uploaded by a very cool Phish fan who has a rather cool website where he has made many recordings available, including the live version of “Gotta Jiboo” that we feature on our player…thank god!  The website can be accessed by clicking here and besides Phish, if you are a Phil Lesh fan you are in luck since it appears there is also Lesh material for the taking.  It’s all legit and on the up and up, so I do not think some record label will slap you with a summons to pay $1,000,000 for 3 songs.  These are all live recordings of shows and free for the taking, very, very cool indeed!

Sadly, versions of “Suzi Greenberg” and “Boogie On Reggae Woman” take you to websites where the songs appear to be no longer offered for downloading, pity.  If you know when and where these versions are from please pass the information along.  Of course we would be even more grateful if you could contact us and send us a burned copy to HiFi Central if possible (comment with an email and we will contact you!).

Check out Crunchy Phish Nuggets and I’m sure you will find something new and exciting.  The FAQ page he provides about how to convert MP3 to .wav files is very helpful.

Check out the page and let us  know what you think and if you discovered anything fun and new!

17
Nov
10

HiFi Radio: listening pleasure to excess

Yes, after massive amounts of board meetings and swooning investors we here at HiFi Central have created our own radio station, well, er, kind of did.  In association with Playlist.com HiFi has created a station that you can click on and listen to our hand selected favorites while you toil at work or perhaps waste endless amounts of time looking busy.

We will do our best to refresh the station every  now and again, but we feel that variety of songs will be some you will want to play almost every day.  We’ve found some Zappa, Phish, Supergrass, Reverend Horton Heat and others to mix it up and keep it interesting.  Hey, we even sprinkled a bit of GWAR in there too (yes, here at HiFi Central we feel that Eliot Smith and GWAR live in peaceful coexistence on the same playlist).

I have to admit that the highlights of this playlist are the two live versions of both Suzy Greenberg and Gotta Jiboo by PHISH; simply incredible!

Although the coding between WordPress and Playlist.com do not jive exactly as well as we would like (it would have cost an additional $1,000,000,000 to fix) we feel that the result is fairly acceptable.  In order to launch the player look on the right of your screen and  just click the link for “Popout Player”; you will be presented with a new window and the fantastic and obnoxious Juicy Fruit billboard surrounding our radio station (ain’t nothin’ for free in this world; thank god it’s not a KY or Trojan ad instead). 

If you have any requests that you think we should consider, please let us know and please tune in regularly.




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