My Recap of the 2013 McDowell Mountain Music Festival

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This past Saturday and Sunday, I made my way to the latest installment of my favorite local festival, the 10th annual McDowell Mountain Music Festival, this year taking place for the first time at Margaret T. Hance Park in downtown Phoenix.

To set the scene, the park sits on top of Interstate 10 just north of downtown proper (the aptly named Deck Park Tunnel runs right under it). It’s a nice expanse of green in the midst of the concrete jungle. On the outskirts of the park were a few vacant lots, a fair share of hard-on-their- luck street folks, but that’s standard for any big city in the old USA I guess. But the venue itself was great. Once again, the organizers did an amazing job of transforming a space into a three day getaway oasis – great food, plenty of facilities, vendors, the main stage, the local band stage, and a VIP section. Each year, walking into MMMF gives me that “ahhh” feeling as we gear up for another great live music experience.

Erika Wennerstrom of the Heartless Bastards
Erika Wennerstrom of the Heartless Bastards

I missed the opening Friday this year (sad about missing the Shins, but I’d seen Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros a few times before). Bu on Saturday, I grabbed the wife and two daughters and headed downtown mid-afternoon just in time for the Heartless Bastards. I’ve been checking them out over the past few months here and there, especially their new album, Arrow. Saturday’s 90 minute set cemented my admiration for the band, especially lead singer/guitarist Erika Wennerstrom. Her strong, lower register singing voice sounded great on tunes like “Only For You”, Junior Kimbrough’s “Done Got Old”, and especially “Parted Ways”, my favorite song of the band’s (right now). It was the perfect start to the day: quality roots/Americana sounds under sunny blue skies.

The weather for the festival? As the MMMF gang mentioned in their Facebook feed, it was chamber of commerce-style weather: high 70’s and sunny both days we were there. Although my family and I will admit to freezing our asses off Friday night. Wimps, I know (I grew up in Minnesota and Wisconsin, but you wouldn’t know it after 20 years in the desert).

Deer Tick
Deer Tick

So next up at 5pm Saturday was Providence, RI’s Deer Tick. Disclaimer: I’m a HUGE fan of the band, so not only did I catch their festival set (also 90 minutes – a bonus for any festival), but I also walked over to the Crescent Ballroom for their late night gig, which kicked off around 11:30pm (I’m still a little weary, and it’s Wednesday).

Characterized by primary singer & songwriter John McCauley’s raspy, wickedly awesome voice, Deer Tick plays gritty, rootsy, countrified rock n’ roll. During Saturday’s sets, they drew heavily from all four of their studio albums and an EP, played five new songs (from a forthcoming album produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos – yes, I love it when my favorite bands come together) and sprinkled some great covers in. They played 45 songs over the two shows, with only four repeats between their afternoon and late night sets. I was definitely reminded of how great Born On Flag Day is (their second studio album) – “Easy”, “Little White Lies”, “Smith Hill”, and “Houston, TX” were all played, and had me rushing back to the album after the gigs.

Deer Tick's John McCauley and Dennis Ryan
Deer Tick’s John McCauley and Dennis Ryan

Guitarist Ian O’Neil also impresses me more and more each time I see Deer Tick play. His Divine Providence tunes – “Walkin Out The Door” and “Now It’s Your Turn” – are always great live. This time around, he sang an insane new rocker, “The Dream Is In The Ditch”, and a cover of a Michael Hurley song, “Be Kind To Me” (another new one for me). Ian gets wild, jumps around, has a killer voice for rock n’ roll, and complements McCauley perfectly up there.

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Deer Tick

Other covers of the night included “If I Should Fall From Grace With God” (the Pogues), “12 Bar Blues (NRBQ), “Sleepwalk” (Santo & Johnny, which is one of my all-time favorite instrumentals), “La Bamba” (Richie Valens), “Summertime Blues” (Eddie Cochran), and “Passing Through” (Leonard Cohen), which served as an ideal intro to Ian’s “Now It’s Your Turn.”

At the late night Crescent Ballroom gig, the band also brought up Vanessa Carlton to sing “In Our Time”, a great country-style duet between John and Vanessa.

I could go on and on about this band, so let me just wrap up this part by saying that Deer Tick really defined the weekend for me, similar to how they defined my Newport Folk Festival weekend a couple years back when I caught their late night gigs at the Newport Blues Café. I just love these guys [for the Set Lists of both shows, check out Setlist.fm for the day set and the late night set]…

Anyway, back to the festival grounds early Saturday evening. I had go check into the hotel after Deer Tick’s set, so I missed about half of SoCal reggae band Iration’s set. I caught the second half, which was pleasant enough I guess. Certainly, nothing stood out and made me want to find out what I was hearing. No knock on the band, they’ve got a cool thing going, but it just didn’t connect with me.

And then came Saturday’s headliner, The Roots. I’ll admit to not being overly familiar with their material. My most significant connection to the band is through Questlove, who shares my lifelong abnormal obsession over the music of Prince. I’m also not much of a hip-hop head post-early 90’s. But I did grow up with the old school of hip-hop, seeing Run-DMC, Public Enemy, Doug E. Fresh, LL Cool J and others back in their early heyday. So I was stoked to hear rapper Black Thought give a shout out to the Beastie Boys’ MCA when he hit the stage, and immediately launch into a high-energy version of “Paul Revere” (my favorite Beasties tune). Questlove took the mic for MCA’s parts, and it was just magic. My 6-year-old daughter was even in the crowd gettin down with me.

I didn’t catch the full set unfortunately, so I missed some highlights like “Sweet Child o’ Mine” and Led Zeppelin cover, but I did catch a good hour, and it was just cool seeing the MMMF crowd exposed to some quality musicianship by a top notch band that can do it all – from hip-hop to rock to soul…right across the musical spectrum.

Dr. Dog
Dr. Dog

On Sunday, I got there just in time for Philly band Dr. Dog’s 2:30 set – one of those bands I’ve been chompin’ at the bit to see. They delivered everything I wanted and more. There’s a whole lot going on in their music, so they’re a hard band to define. I’ll go with something like “psychedelic indie-folk.” The band’s two primary singers blew me away – Toby Leaman’s strong stage presence and Scott McMicken’s unique voice, which had me thinking of Bob Dylan and the Felice Brothers at times.

The band had their core guitars, bass, and drums, but a large part of their sound consisted of a synthesizer and what I think was a drum machine/DJ rig that added all sorts of wonderfully strange beats, bangs and sounds to tunes like “Lonesome”, How Long Must I Wait”, “Do The Trick”, “That Old Black Hole”, and “Heart It Races” (originally done by Architecture in Helsinki, an Australian band). I mean, this is what I love about music – how one band can lead you to another. Architecture in Helsinki?? Who knew? Not me. Great set (another 90 minutes!), and I can’t wait to see Dr. Dog again.

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Les Claypool & Bryan Kehoe – Duo De Twang

Next up was former Primus and Oysterhead bass-whiz and all around weirdo (and I mean that in a good way) Les Claypool and his Duo de Twang. The other member of the duo is Bryan Kehoe, a looong bearded, cowboy hat wearin’ good old boy from a Bay Area band called M.I.R.V. – and a solid picker on his dobro.

I absolutely loved this set, as Les and Bryan slapped and picked through tunes from the Primus catalog (“Wynonna’s Big Brown Beaver”, “Jerry Was A Race Car Driver”), and some interesting cover choices, including “Bridge Came Tumbling Down” by the recently departed Canadian legend Stompin’ Tom Connors, and Johnny Horton’s “The Battle of New Orleans” – both crowd favorites, especially the latter, where Les somehow got the crowd to sing along to “We fired our guns and the British kept a’comin / There wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago / We fired once more and they began to runnin’ on / Down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.”

Les and Bryan’s in between song stage banter was highly entertaining too, I could have listened to them all day. Count Duo de Twang as another act I’d see again in a heartbeat.

Yonder Mountain String Band
Yonder Mountain String Band

That brings us to my final set of the festival, Nederland, Colorado’s Yonder Mountain String Band. It had been some 13 years since I last saw them at the 2000 Telluride Bluegrass Festival. YMSB are a progressive bluegrass jamband, and have gathered legions of fans over their 15 year run. I’ll admit that my attention span was starting to wane into YMSB’s set, as the lack of rest and hot sun began to take its toll. I know. I can’t rally like I used to, folks. Not to mention my friends who love Sunday’s headliner, Umphrey’s McGee, are gonna slap me upside my virtual head for missing their set.

One thing is clear: the men and women behind the McDowell Mountain Music Festival should be recognized for putting on another high quality multi-day festival – no easy feat at all.

In my seven consecutive years of attending the festival, this was the third venue, and the first time in downtown Phoenix. Although we all miss the original venue, Scottsdale’s massive Westworld complex, this year felt sort of like a return to form after two scaled down years at now-defunct Compound Grill.

For one, they offered camping again (not sure how that worked out in the vacant lot adjacent to the venue – I’d be interested to know); they brought back the VIP section, with a large wooden platform looming over the side of the stage that allowed the VIP folks to watch the bands up close); there were tons of great food selections this year (we weren’t limited to the Compund Grill’s menu like the last few years). My go to spot was the Green Truck on the Go, where I opted for the Mother Trucker Vega Burger both days; and for a craft beer lover like me, I was excited to see Bend, Oregon’s Deschutes Brewery as the official beer sponsor of this year’s festival. Inversion IPA, Mirror Pond Pale Ale… I was a happy boy.

Best of all, every cent of the festival, as always, went to charity – this year, it was Ear Candy, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, and UMOM New Day Centers.

It was also a good opportunity to spend some time in downtown Phoenix. For someone who lives in one of the suburbs (about 30 minutes out), my normal excursions into Phoenix consist of the occasional concert or sports event (Diamondbacks or Suns). Post show or game, the city has always seemed like a ghost town, lacking heart and soul. So, not only was it awesome of MMMF to bring their event into downtown Phoenix to infuse a little of that vitality and soul (and money) into the core of the city, but it was cool too as a local resident to grab a hotel room, jump on the light rail train, and explore a little. Other than the late night bum brawl on the train (there was blood), I saw another side of the city: people walking around at midnight, bars and restaurants jumping with business… People. Energy. Life. It was refreshing.

So hats off to another great McDowell Mountain Music Festival – my favorite festival in my home state of 20 years. Here’s to many more…

2013 McDowell Mountain Music Festival brings the Roots, the Shins, and lots more to Downtown Phoenix

2013 MMMF logoArizona’s own McDowell Mountain Music Festival marks its 10 year anniversary in just a couple of months (March 22-24) with a stellar lineup – arguably the strongest lineup in its decade long run.

I’ve made it very clear over the years that MMMF is hands-down my favorite music event in old AZ. I’ve attended every one of them since 2007, when I watched in awe as Aaron Neville and his brothers belted out “Tell It Like It Is.”

From its earlier years at Scottsdale’s spacious Westworld complex (2004-2009) to the intimate sod-laid parking lot outside of the (now defunct) Compound Grill in north Phoenix/Scottsdale (2010-2012), the all-for-charity festival has brought in the likes of Los Lobos, Gov’t Mule, the Flaming Lips, Matisyahu, Blues Traveler, Galactic, and Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros – as well as a regular rotation of local artists like What Laura Says, Tramps & Thieves, and Endoplasmic.

2013 brings another new venue for MMMF – Margaret T. Hance Park in downtown Phoenix (aka “Deck Park” because of it’s locale over the Interstate 10 tunnel). It’s clearly a shift for the festival, moving from the far outskirts of the Phoenix metro area to smack dab in the middle of an urban center. This won’t be welcome news to those that enjoyed camping out under the stars during its first several years at Westworld, and were hoping for a return there. But any hesitation to attend should be squashed with this year’s announced lineup…

The Shins
The Roots
Umphrey’s McGee
Les Claypool’s Due de Twang
Deer Tick
Heartless Bastards
Dr. Dog
Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
Yonder Mountain String Band
and more…

Me? I’m most excited to catch the Shins for the first time, to see the Roots a second time, and to see Rhode Island’s crazy bastards, Deer Tick, for a fifth time. The afterhours Deer Tick party on Saturday at the nearby Crescent Ballroom should be a wild time too.

I’m also really looking forward to Sunday’s closer, Umphrey’s McGee – a prog-rock/jamband that has been making big waves in the jam scene for years.

There’s a little something for everyone, isn’t there? Sunday’s lineup is a jamband fan’s wet dream. Saturday is gritty and soulful. Friday leans to the Indie side. All in all, a killer lineup if you ask me.

So tickets just went on sale January 1st. 3-day passes are going for $120.

See you there on Friday, March 22nd, yeah?

Here’s the full lineup…

FRIDAY, MARCH 22, 2013

5:00 LOCAL TBD
6:00 Balkan Beat Box
7:30 Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes
9:30 The Shins

AFTERHOURS AT CRESCENT BALLROOM:
11:30  ORGONE

SATURDAY, MARCH 23, 2013:

12:00 LOCAL
1:00 LOCAL
3:00 Heartless Bastards
5:00 Deer Tick
7:00  Iration
9:00   The Roots

AFTERHOURS AT CRESCENT BALLROOM:
11:30   Deer Tick

SUNDAY, MARCH 24, 2013:

11:30 LOCAL
12:30 JGB BAND
2:00 Dr. Dog
4:00 Les Claypool’s Duo de Twang
6:00 Yonder Mountain String Band
8:00 Umphrey’s McGee

BUY TICKETS

Official Site for the McDowell Mountain Music Festival

 

The Friday Five: November 4, 2011

On the sixth day of every week, Michael Parr shuffles through his library to bring you five random tracks.

Friday Five

Friday Five : ‘frī-(,)dā,-dē ‘fīv : On the sixth day of every week, I hit the shuffle button on my iTunes, then share the first five tracks and thought for each track. Sometimes there is a playlist involved, occasionally we’ll have a guest, but most of the time it’s just me. The rest is up to you, our friends and readers! Fire up your media player of choice and share the first five random track of your shuffle in the comments.

The Five:

I hear that my little town—Newtown, CT—has made the news recently as being “ground zero” for the power outages effecting the Northeast, thanks to the Halloween snowstorm this past weekend. I say “hear” as I’ve been living life a little bit more simply the past few days, relying on the kindness of friends and family to get warmth, recharge my batteries and catch up on the world.

So … live, from my Mother-In-Law’s dining room, it’s the Friday Five!

“This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race” by Fall Out Boy (from, Believers Never Die – Greatest Hits, 2009)

“All My Tomorrows” by Frank Sinatra (from, Nothing but the Best, 2008)

“Hated” by The Afghan Whigs (from, Up in It, 1990)

“Mr. Bojangles (live)” by Nina Simone (from, To Be Free: The Nina Simone Story, 2008)

“Datskat” by The Roots (from Buy-Product 1, 1995)

What’s on your shuffle today?

The Friday Five: August 19, 2011

On the sixth day of every week, Michael Parr shuffles through his library to bring you five random tracks.

Friday Five

Friday Five : ‘frī-(,)dā,-dē ‘fīv : On the sixth day of every week, I hit the shuffle button on my iTunes, then share the first five tracks and thought for each track. Sometimes there is a playlist involved, occasionally we’ll have a guest, but most of the time it’s just me. The rest is up to you, our friends and readers! Fire up your media player of choice and share the first five random track of your shuffle in the comments.

The Five:

“Look Sharp!” by Joe Jackson (from Look Sharp!, 1979)

Why are you yelling at me, Joe Jackson?

“Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” by Bob Dylan (from MTV Unplugged, 1995)

Indeed.

“Wake Up Everybody (live in studio performance)” by John Legend & The Roots (from Wake Up!, 2010)

Why do these album titles keep yelling at me? Look Sharp! Wake Up!

“Team” by Bon Iver (from For Emma, Forever Ago, 2008)

I still fail to see what everyone loves about Bon Iver.

“Girl” by The Beatles (from Rubber Soul, 1965)

Sweet finish to summer’s penultimate Friday Five.

What’s on your shuffle today?

Hope for Haiti Now

Like many of you, I sat down and took in the two hours of Hope for Haiti Now last night – a music-based benefit organized by overall good guy George Clooney. It was broadcast on most TV and cable networks. This will shock you, but Fox News did not – I repeat, DID NOT – broadcast the show last night. That is completely surprising to – well – nobody.

Well, those Fox News watching fu–tards missed out on some pretty cool moments last night. If you could make it through the awkward celebrity phone conversations with the general public, you saw the likes of Bono, Rihanna, Jay-Z, Bono, Mary J. Blige, Coldplay, Jennifer Hudson, Dave Matthews and Neil Young, Sting, Shakira, and of course the Boss (and many others).

All of the performances can be purchased on iTunes or Amazon.

Here’s a look at my favorite moments from the evening:

5. Bruce Springsteen – “We Shall Overcome”

This classic spiritual was covered by Bruce on his 2006 Seeger Sessions record. Last night, Bruce brought out his backup singers, along with Charles Giordano on accordion and Curt Ramm on trumpet.

dead link

4. Justin Timberlake and Matt Morris – “Hallelujah”

I was pleasantly surprised by this. As covers of this Leonard Cohen song go, Jeff Buckley’s stands firmly above the rest. But Justin and Matt last night were spot on with their harmonies, and brought out the true beauty in the song – which is more of a lover’s lament than a song about hope, strength, and inspiration (the general theme of the night). I was most impressed by Matt Morris’s vocals.

3. Shakira – “I’ll Stand By You”

This song is one of my favorite Pretenders tunes, and Shakira nailed it, in my opinion. Of course, my opinion may have been different if she looked like Tiny Tim, but visually and aurally, it was fantastic – especially with the Roots backing her up.

2. Sting w/ the Roots – “Driven to Tears”

What a great version this was. The full, lush arrangement – Sting on acoustic surrounded by the Roots. Questlove, drummer for the Roots, mentioned on Twitter that he was really looking forward to this performance because he’s practiced drums to the Police since he was a kid.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6yiUHqMcig

1. Wyclef Jean – “Rivers of Babylon” > Haitian traditional

I’m a big fan of “Rivers of Babylon”, a song written by the Melodians in 1972, and covered by many, including Steve Earle. But when Wyclef shifted gears and launched into the percussive blast of his native Haiti, it was like a load being lifted from our shoulders. He sang in English and his native creole, sang about strength in the face of adversity, sang even about Anderson Cooper and CNN. It was a perfect ending to the night.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1M0k9iR3bE

Late Night Christmas

With things being as hectic as can be in my household, it’s the little things that bring home the holiday spirit. Last night, after spending some time shopping with my wife, we collapsed into the couch and flipped on Letterman just in time to catch Darlene Love perform her classic “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJcYUj89JiU

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Incubus & the Roots do justice to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy”

?uestlove warned us to set our DVR’s to catch Incubus perform Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” with the Roots on the Jimmy Fallon show. Only thing is, my computer is upstairs and my DVR is downstairs. If that doesn’t define laziness, I don’t know what does.

Thankfully, Okay Player has the video available, and it has yet to be yanked by the Purple One and his web police goons. I just watched it, and I think this version kicks ass. Lead singer Brandon Boyd clearly knows the song inside and out, and does the song great justice, along with all the great players. Kudos too to Mike Einziger, who nails the guitar parts – including the classic finale solo. Obviously the kids along the railing didn’t grow up with the song like us older farts – they think the song’s over when Einziger starts his solo. Kids…

Review: Dave Matthews Band at Madison Square Garden

Where's The Dave?

Photo: John Waters

“Who starts a tour at Madison Square Garden?”

Apparently when you are Dave Matthews Band, the answer is, well, you. Returning to the last venue the band played at the close of their 2008 tour, the band kick started their 2009 tour with a set that could really only be described as epic. There was a definite underlying theme to the night celebrating both the release of their upcoming album Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King, and the life and spirit of LeRoi Moore, whose presence was definitely felt throughout the evening.

Before I get too far into the main event, I’ve got to give some love to Philadelphia’s Legendary Roots Crew. Folks that follow Questlove on twitter know that Tuesday was a busy day for the band running from their ‘day job’ at Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to The Garden and then to their weekly gig at Highline. My wife Christine and I met up with some friends and fellow DMB fans before the show for drinks and dinner, and it was Questlove’s tweet that let us know it was time to head over. Still dressed in their late night gear the band absolutely killed it, wasting not a single second to silence or typical between song banter. From Led Zeppelin to R&B to Hip-Hop the group did not miss a beat blending it all into a tasty gumbo. Highlights for me came at guitarists Captain Kirk Douglas’ take on Cody ChestnuTT‘s “The Seed (2.0)” hook, Black Thought’s absolute mastery on the mic and percussionist Frankie Knuckles leading the band through dance routines Jerome Benton-style.

You Too Can Have A Dave Like Mine.

Photo: John Waters

Seated behind the stage we could clearly view the activity taking place as the road crew set up the curtains and prepped the stage. Dave sauntered out and pumped his fists jumping up and down for those of us who could see him and the band warmed up the intro to “Don’t Drink the Water” from their 1998 classic Before These Crowded Streets. For as many times as I’ve heard “Don’t Drink the Water” (and this marks the third consecutive time I’ve heard it as a show opener) it never wears. The “This Land is Your Land” tag elicited a roar from the crowd as he used Woody Guthrie‘s words to supplement his own toasting the “New York Island”. Following closely was the tour staple “Corn Bread”, a salacious little bit of country fried funk that inspired Dave to choreograph his own brand of dance to a fury that I’ve not seen since James Brown sat in with the band a few years back. The band launched into the first of three new tracks from Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King, “Funny the Way It Is” (which had been released for free earlier in the day) to an audience already singing back to them.

The first sign that this was not to be just another tour kick-off was the appearance of “Raven” from Busted Stuff which has not been performed by the band since 2006. Building on the momentum the band tore through an amped up version of “You Might Die Trying” from 2005’s Stand Up. Guitarist Tim Reynolds delivered his exclusive brand of fret board gymnastics and made it look easy. The second debut came with the mid-tempo “Spaceman” which juxtaposed Dave’s scat like vocals against a gently rolling groove. This one definitely has potential…

I’m not all there, I’m a faithful sinner
I might get lost, but I’ll be home for dinner
If God don’t like me, he can hand me to hell

Not coming home till the good day’s gone
Working as hard, as the day is long
Working men watch me, when I get home

“Dancing Nancies” from the bands label debut Under the Table and Dreaming segued nicely into “Pig” both of which prominently featured violinist Boyd Tinsley‘s soulful violin. I’m not certain if Boyd’s new violin is a more traditional build than his original custom model, but its tone was sweeter and harmonic and his turns driving the ship were all the better for it. As the crew brought an additional microphone onto the stage Dave welcomed Gregg Allman (who just “happened to be in town”) up to run through the classic “Melissa” with Gregg and Dave trading verses.

On any other night this would be a showstopper, but the night was young and far from being over. After running through old school fan favorites “Recently”, and the sadly ironic “So Damn Lucky” the band switched gears for the dark “#27”. Dave introduced the final new track of the evening with a tribute to the bands fallen member LeRoi Moore with the emotional and decidedly heavy “Why I Am”.

Still here dancing with the Groogrux king
Will be drinking big whiskey, while we dance and sing
When my story ends, it’s gonna end with him
Heaven or hell, I’m going there with the Groogrux king

From there the band turned up the tempo with a killer version of the anathematic “Ants Marching”. At moments I could not tell you who was louder, the band or the crowd the 20,000 strong sang along every single word. Almost certain that the set was ending the band surprised me by launching into a powerful “#41” featuring saxophonist Jeff Coffin‘s first step into the spotlight of the night. His solo was delivered with such ferocity that it was almost as if he were blowing The Garden down himself. The “Sojourn of Arjuna” interpolation with Coffin and Rashawn Ross on trumpet adds a new twist to the classic and Reynolds again lends soaring leads to the mix of the 17-plus minutes of jamming.

At the close I said to myself that if they ended the show here I’d be happy, but as notes faded the familiar strum of “Two Step” brought the crowd to an absolute frenzy. The entire band traded measures with each and every member showcasing their immense talent. Starting with a restrained but powerful lead by bassist Stefan Lessard and wrapping with 4 plus minutes of percussive bliss courtesy of Carter Beauford, the band kept it going for nearly another 20 minutes before leaving the stage for a quick breather. Dave returned with Tim, Carter and Rashawn for the touching “Sister”, and the rest of the band came back to close the set with the joyful “Tripping Billies”.

As Christine and I made our way back to Grand Central in the pouring rain, we commented to each other on just how extraordinary a show we just witnessed, and quickly rattled back and forth our highlights. It was an emotional experience seeing the band without LeRoi, but it was clear that this night was a celebration of his life, his songs, and his spirit that the band is clearly carrying forward with them.

Good to the Last Dave.

Dave Matthews Band at Madison Square Garden

New York, New York

April 14, 2009

Set List:

Don’t Drink the Water
Cornbread
Funny the Way It Is
Raven
You Might Die Trying
Spaceman
Dancing Nancies
Pig
Melissa (w/Gregg Allman)
Recently
So Damn Lucky
#27
Why I Am
Ants Marching
#41
Two Step
Encore:
Sister
Tripping Billies

Bonus Video!

*It’s not great, but it’s something…

Dave Matthews Band – Funny the Way It Is (live) (YouTube)

Pre-Order Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King: Amazon

Links: Official Site | on Last.fm | on MySpace

Roots Rising

The Roots – Rising Up (feat. Wale & Chrisette Michele) (Video)

It’s been a long time since I’ve exclaimed “that’s my JAM” but after hearing this record I did not walk, I ran to get my hands on The Roots latest masterpiece Rising Down. Seriously I’ve had this joint on repeat and I never do that.

Buy Rising Down: Amazon | iTunes

Links: Official Site | on Last.fm | on MySpace